To say that the NRHA European Derby Open finals on Sept. 24 in Manerbio, Italy, thrilled the crowd would be an understatement. The 43 finalists that performed in the four levels rewrote history with the scores prove it. In the Level 4, the top 15 scores were all above a 220, and posting the amazing high score of 229 was Pierluigi Chioldo with Spooks O Lena between the reins.
“This mare is simply incredible and tonight was the best I’ve ever felt her in the show pen. I’ve had her in training for the past two years and she just gets better and better every time,” said Chioldo. “She was great in the go-round, but tonight I was so confident and felt that if I asked for more she would give more. She was awesome and deserved to show off what she is capable of. It’s the best way for her to retire and be a full-time broodmare.”
The athletic 7-year-old mare (Spooks Gotta Gun x Lonesome Sally Lena x Doc O’Lena) is owned by Ambrosini Quarter Horses ASD and was nominated by Ambrosini Quarter Horses ASD and Davide Rossi.
Finishing a half-point behind the winners were Derby Level 4 Open Co-Reserve Champions AB Peppy Diamond, ridden by NRHA Million Dollar Rider Rudi Kronsteiner, and Sugar Little Step, ridden by Markus Gebert.
AB Peppy Diamond (OT Taris San Peppy x Mare Made x ARC Sparkle Surprise) is a 7-year-old stallion owned by Jennifer Nixdorf and nominated by Antonello Businaro). Sugar Little Step (Wimpys Little Step x AH Sugar Sugar x Lil Ruf Peppy) is a 4-year-old stallion owned by Quarter Dream SRL and nominated by Wolf Dieter Luft. Gebert and his mount also claimed the Level 3 Open Championship.
“We bought this horse last year before the Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA) Futurity. I rode him two days before that show and he was fantastic,” Gebert said. “This year, at the NRHA European Futurity, he was injured in his stall and we had to give him a resting period. When we brought him back to the show pen, we won the Swiss Open Derby and now, here we are! He is super, really amazing and is always quiet. He listens, he waits and this evening, everything was in the right place.”
The Level 2 Open title, with a 220 score, went to Spooks Midnight, ridden by Moreno Sacchi. The 6-year-old mare (Spooks Gotta Gun x Smart Dottie x ARC Tora Tora) was nominated by owner Francesco Mazza.
“I showed this mare for the first time at the Italian Derby. This is the second show for us and we made the finals thanks to the consolation run,” Sacchi said. “I’m very happy because now we understand each other better and this evening she was super!”
Taking the Level 2 Open Reserve Championship back to Belgium was Matyas Gobert riding Koen Brutsaert’s CJ Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Dream Olena Chic x Magnum Chic Dream). The 7-year-old stallion nominated by Euro-Vets Inc. closed his run with a 218.5.
Nicola Sergio of Italy and his Ruf Little Chex (Lil Ruf Trouble x Nu Dynamite Chex x Nu Chex To Cash) took the Derby Level 1 Open Championship. The 6-year-old gelding, nominated by Luigi Parise, posted a score of 217.5.
“I’ve always believed in this horse, he is fantastic. We’ve made the final in every special event we took part in,” Sergio said. “This evening he was great and was with me all the way. He will now take a break until the end of the year and then we will see.”
Italian Angelo Benedusi reined Little Hancock (Docs Tivio Hancock x Little Bay Solano x Sure Slide Solano), a 7-year-old Quarter Horse gelding owned and nominated by Arianna Asteris, to a 216 and the Level 1 Open Reserve Championship.