Last in the draw of the $170.622-added Level (L)4, the earners of the highest composite score following the second go — Nico Sicuro and Gunner Be Step — claimed the Open Championship with a powerful ride paid back by the judges with a 226 score. The stallion by Sugar Little Step out of Gunna Be Majestic, bred by Quarter Dream, also earned his owners and his dam the International Reining Horse Breeder Association (IRHBA) incentive program ‘Best Mare Award.’
Sicuro was thrilled with his first L4 Open Futurity Championship, and so was his long list of fans. “This is a really emotional moment and although I was hoping to win after the go rounds, I knew I had some pretty good horses and riders out there to beat, especially in the last set,” he said. “I tried to stay focused, making the most of my horses’ strong points, and after the first three maneuvers, and after the lead change, I just went for it and my horse was with me until the very end. What makes this win very special is the fact that he is home-bred, and even though he’s always been very talented, it took me a little while to find the right buttons and finally here I did. I am really happy for his sire; this is his second crop of futurity horses so winning the Open Futurity aboard one of his offspring is super special. I would like to thank my whole team, my girlfriend Sofia, and last but not least Pietro Marseglia for always believing in me and my program.”
Regarding the IRHBA ‘Best Mare Award,’ Quarter Horse owner Pietro Marseglia who has always believed in the Sugar Little Step and Gunna Be Majestic cross. "I'm very happy to have received this coveted award as a breeder because Gunna Be Majestic is an amazing mare who earned very high scores in the show pen, and has now shown that her babies have inherited her talent.”
Claiming the Reserve Championship with a 224.5 score was Manuel Cortesi riding Frozen Sven, a stallion by SG Frozen Enterprize x Ladymaster, owned by Eleuterio Arcese and Roberto Cuoghi, and bred by the latter.
It took a run-off between Andrea Costa and Alessandro Frassá, riding Rush N Trashya PC and GH Donna Whiz respectively, to determine who would take home the $48.385-added Level 3 title. Once the two combinations had both gone back to the show arena, the Championship was for Costa who rode his mount by NRHA Ten Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya out of Electric Rush to a 221.5. “It’s been a very long show for both the riders and the horses, but my horse is truly a made of gold, with a heart bigger than him! His first go was very good but unfortunately, we had some penalties. In the second go we managed to have the same quality of maneuvers which allowed us to qualify for the final,” he said about his mount who was purchased by owner Alex Kubli as a yearling and was bred by Massimo Sartori. “His owner fell in love with him and since then this horse has always been under my guidance. A special thank you goes to him for always believing in me and my program!”
Frassá and the Giuliano Gallizia owned mare GH Donna Whiz (Star Spangled Whiz x Nu Chex Donna), bred by Guida Quarter Horses settled for the L3 Reserve Champion and also won the $22.919-added Level 2. “I’m so happy! She is a mare that we purchased as a yearling, I broke her and trained her, and that’s really a great satisfaction! She is a very good-minded horse and during these past days she also showed how serious she is. I would like to thank my entire team, my wife, and all the people who helped me get this far and achieve this success tonight.”
Once the first section of the finals was over, Shane Mark Bass and Superwalla (NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz x Ah Lady Oscar), a stallion owned and bred by Alberto Sabbadin, were the $12.733-added Level 1 Champions. The first duo had already ridden to the highest score of the first go as well to the top composite score rankings following the second go round. “I had a lot of fun today! This horse belongs to my heart and today I managed to put my hand down and execute a good pattern,” he said. “I broke and trained him so he’s been in my program the whole time. I would like to thank the owner who not only is his breeder but is also his farrier. I’ve always believed in this horse and have always tried to convince him not to sell him.”
Irhba Best Stallion Award
Winning the IRHBA ‘Best Stallion Award’ was NRHA Million Dollar Sire Colonels Shining Gun owned by Katarzyna Roleska. Receiving the award on behalf of Roleska was Roleki Ranch’s head trainer Lukasz Czechowicz. “Colonels Shining Gun offspring are great horses, he produces so many talented horses, so athletic and so good in all maneuvers. He’s just an amazing sire!” he stated.
Photos by Bonaga Communication
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Simona Diale / International Horse Press