IRHA/NRHA Open Futurity 3 years old: the Finals Mission accomplished. The challenge to fill the stands of the large, bright oval arena of the new Futurity in Cremona, Italy. Tickets were sold out to the big Open Final.
So who made the podium?
At the top of the podium for levels 4 and 3, a third-generation Italian trainer: 30-year-old Pierluigi Chioldo and his partner in victory was the magnificent Saturday Mizzen. A gelding by Saturdaynight Custom and Westcoast Mizzen bred by Ambrosini Qh in Pontoglio (Brescia).
We could almost call this the “geldings’ Futurity”, as once again a gelding dominated the rankings, showing how this condition can really bring out the best from certain types of horse, helping to avoid unnecessary risks and conferring a special kind of serene energy that may be an advantage in the show pen.
Saturday Mizzen and Chioldo upped the power between the first and second go-rounds to tie for the lead after the preliminary rounds. Pierluigi Fabbri, who was on top form this week, also winning the Italian Championship aboard Broadway Jaba, and here riding Gfc Surprise For Me and finishing their show as Futurity Open Reserve Champion Level 3 and in fourth place at level 4 tied with the beautiful Ann Fonck and Roosters Attitude.
Chioldo, the trainer from Piedmont, entered second to last and had a formidable opponent to beat: the great Bernard Fonck, who had marked a resounding 223, giving full expression to the power of Sevenchextocash (Big Chex to Cash x Lil Chic Peppy), another gelding belonging to 7 Heaven Reining Horses.
Chioldo and Saturday Mizzen astonished the crowd with a run that became progressively more impressive: two sets of elegant and precise spins, fast circles, where the charisma of this young horse emerged was clear to see, as well as flawless small, slow circles. The finishing touch to a great performance was the execution of the three thrilling stops, met with a standing ovation from the audience.
Bernard Fonck Reserve Champion Level 4 riding an impressive stallion bred by the current owners, 7 Heaven Reining Horses. Following the show Bernard wanted above all to emphasize the help received from his wife Ann: "All my thanks go to my wife Ann for helping me prepare for this run; I didn’t feel too good while getting ready, but she pushed and supported me, and I'm grateful." Commenting on the final itself Bernard expresses his surprise on the score awarded for the circles. “I don’t wish to dispute the judges’ decision, and I’d like to emphasize that I’ve watched Chioldo’s run, and I can say that the best man won, no doubt about it. But if my circles in the final deserved just + ½ I’d like to see what you have to do to get + 1 or + 1 ½?” Bernard continues, “This horse came to me as a two-year-old and I started training him myself in December. I was more than happy with him at Cremona. Fonck is generous with his praise for the organisation in Cremona. “The quality of the show here was at a whole different level; there was all you needed for the horses, and it was great to give something back to the many sponsors we have in terms of contact and enjoyment – a 100% improvement.”
Leading after the eliminatory go-rounds alongside Pierluigi Chioldo, was one of Romagna’s finest reiners, Pierluigi Fabbri on GFC Surprise For Me (Dualin For Me x Arc Surprise On Stage), owned by Piero Pollarini. The pair were the last competitors to enter the show pen, and the crowd encouraged horse and rider to give it their all. The judges awarded a final 219 that secured Fabbri the Reserve Champion Title level 3. ”He always tries to do his best,” commented Pierluigi,” and he certainly did that here in Cremona. Sometimes it’s a bit dangerous because he risks pushing himself too far. Halfway through the final, the fatigue hit him, and I could ask no more, but I’m delighted with the way he performed.”
Dominating Level 2 were Stefano Angelucci and Jessie Sailor, belonging to the rider’s father, Severino. The good three-year-old is, of course, a son born from the family’s stallion, Frozen Sailor, better known as Captain, and Jessie Oak Tari. In the go-rounds, Stefano chose to ensure a calm and clean performance, marking a higher score in the second go but without pushing too much, just enough to get to a good composite 421.5 and ninth place ex aequo in the provisional standings. Enough to enter the final without exhausting the energies of his talented stallion too early.
Stefano, who is quite reserved and not much of a talker, described his horse saying, “He tends to be a bit nervous around other horses, but that is his only defect. He’s never given me any problems, even in training, except for a brief moment when he was slightly 'blocked’; but then it passed about a month ago, and everything went smoothly.” Stefano knew that Jessie Oak had great potential, but admits honestly that he did not think he was quite ready to take a place on the podium. This result, of course, makes him very happy.
The title of Reserve Champion Futurity Open Level 2 goes to Mirko Midili and Rs Moon Feo Jac, already the undisputed go-round leaders. The stallion is a son of the many-time winner Rs Great Jac Feona out of Rs Red Moon Olena, by Spat Olena, and hence a product labelled Claudio Risso 100% given that both parents were bred by the great horseman from Piedmont. The combination, which in the preliminaries had marked 214 and 217.5, entered the arena as the 32nd pair and reached a score of 215.5 in the final.