The Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting held at the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Core Balance Derby on Saturday saw new faces jump into the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World standings in both the Open and Non-Pro.
Whiskey Cat, an earner of $36,883, was ridden by NCHA Hall of Fame trainer Russ Westfall to a score of 228 to win the $10,292 Open champion’s check. That money takes the previously unranked gelding into the top 20 of the Open.
“We’ll take it one show at a time,” Westfall said of whether he will try to qualify Whiskey Cat (High Brow Cat x Jitters Brown x Smart Little Lena) for the NCHA World Finals in November. “We’re not going to make any plans but there are still a few of these Mercurias left. What this did is let everyone see just how good of a horse he is.”
Whiskey Cat is a 2010 gelding owned by Suzanne Rodoni-Silverberg, of Soquel, California.
NCHA Super Stakes Classic Open Champion Metallic Rebel placed second in the Mercuria with a score of 222. Under the guidance of trainer Beau Galyean, the stallion also won the PCCHA Core Balance Classic Challenge Open earlier in the day. Metallic Rebel (Metallic Cat x Sweet Abra x Abrakadabracre) is owned by Thomas and Lisa Guinn, of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Michelle Barnes went in to her first Mercuria Non Pro finals ranked 16th in the NCHA Non-Pro World standings with $9,523 won. Riding Hillbilly Handfishin, Barnes marked a 223 to earn $8,750, which moved her into the top 10 in the standings.
This was just the third Mercuria Non Pro that Barnes has entered and is the first one that she has made the finals at.
“It’s almost unbelievable that you could win it the first time that you qualify back,” Barnes said.
Hillbilly Handfishin (Autumn Acre x Little Red Bet x Smart Little Lena) is a 2009 gelding with lifetime earnings of $167,148.
Lauren Middleton of Weatherford, Texas had the second highest score in the Non-Pro. She marked a 219 on Sweet Reyvenge (Reys Dual Badger x Sweet Camille x Chicks Achy Braky) to win $7,400.