Harry Potter Works Magic While Richard Spooner Is Miraculous In The $75,000 Bayer/USET Grand Prix

Harry Potter, with Canadian John Pearce in the irons, worked magic besting the four-horse jump off field in the $75,000 Bayer/ USET Grand Prix. "This horse is dangerous in a jump-off," said John Pearce with a grin. "If he makes it to the second round I know he is fast, he is careful and he tries hard." Like the Harry Potter of literature, the equine Harry Potter has magic in his genes. He is by Jus de Pomme, winner of the 1996 Show Jumping Olympic Gold in Atlanta, GA.

During the first week of the HITS Indio Desert Circuit, Pearce was a bit cautious in the jump-off citing unfamiliarity with the footing. By the third week he had it wired and pulled all the stops out. "Coming out of the snow and a small indoor ring, it takes a couple of weeks to work out the kinks," continued Pearce. "He jumped wonderfully," said Pearce of Harry Potter, "and my first phone call will be to my wife and the second will be to Jane (Clark), the horses owner." Clark bought the horse from Pearce and ultimately gave Pearce the ride on the talented chestnut gelding.

Where Harry Potter was magical, Richard Spooner was miraculous. On Saturday afternoon, Spooner has a serious fall with another jumper while preparing for a class. Horse and rider both fell, and Spooner was pinned between the horse and the ground. He was barely able to walk Juan Carlos Tafur Eisenmeyers challenging course, and then had to tackle it first aboard Robinson. Spooner gave the 39 riders an equitation lesson as he mastered the course without stirrups. "I was thoroughly impressed," said John Pearce. "I quit," muttered fellow grand prix rider Damian Gardner. Robert Ridland was simply speechless.

"My horse jumped beautifully," said Spooner of Robinson's beautiful effort around the course. "My legs are like jelly. I don't think I've ridden without stirrups that much since I was riding with Jamie Mann 13 years ago!" About the course Spooner commented, "The course seemed easier than it walked. It was well designed, difficult, technical, and the last jump required the horse to be very careful jumping a narrow vertical going toward the in-gate. Juan Carlos designed fantastic courses all week."

Spooner chose to ride with stirrups in the jump-off for the purpose of making the turns. "By that point my leg muscles were so sore that I was trading pain in my groin muscles for pain above my ankle. Robinson was great, but he had the rail because I just couldnt keep enough leg on him at the oxer." Spooner finished fourth with four faults and a time of 43.40.

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson was second aboard El Campeon's Cirka Z. Although clean, she was three seconds slower than Pearce with a time of 45.45. Will Simpson had to settle for third, behind his wife, with El Campeon's Ado Annie. They accumulated four faults in a time of 42.73.

$75,000 Bayer/ USET Grand Prix - Sunday, February 10, 2002
Indio Desert Circuit III - Indio, CA
Juan Carlos Tafur Eisenmeyer, Course Designer

Place Horse Rider Owner Prize Money Rd 1/Rd 2 Faults-JO Time

1st Harry Potter John Pearce Jane F. Clark $22,500 0/0 42.31
2nd El Campeon's Cirka Z Nicole Shahinian-Simpson El Campeon Farms $16,500 0/0 45.45
3rd El Campeons Will Simpson El Campeon Farm's Ado Annie $9,750 0/4 42.73
4th Robinson Richard Spooner Half Moon Bay Investment Group $6,000 0/4 43.40


February 24 1:00PM $50,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix
March 3 11AM-1PM Seniors' Day
March 3 1:00PM $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix
March 10 11AM-2PM "Fiesta Day
March 10 2PM $150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert


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Updated: October 2005.