Man Riding a horse
• Photo by Molly Montag

5-for-5: Mike Wood Wins Fifth $5,000 Novice World Finals Show Title

Hesa Belle Cat and Mike Wood won the $5,000 Novice World Finals Show Championship, giving the Arizona trainer his fifth win in a row in the class.

Wood, of Scottsdale, won both the show title and the year-end National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Championship with the gelding owned by Butlin Ranches Inc, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They won both rounds of the World Finals, posting scores of 224 and 225, to earn a show-topping $4,593 during the event that concluded Saturday (Dec. 1) in Fort Worth, Texas.

In the World Championship race, which goes to the horse that earns the most money in the class throughout the entire year, the son of High Brow Cat banked $58,442.27. In addition to his success with Wood, Hesa Belle Cat also placed sixth with owner Linda Butlin in this year’s $5,000 Novice Non-Pro World Standings.

“We finished the year strong: Started strong, finished strong,” Wood said of the 2011 gelding. “Such a good horse. Lots of try.”

Bred by River Bend Ranch, of Bigfork, Montana, Hesa Belle Cat entered the World Finals with lifetime earnings of more than $148,465, according to Equi-Stat. He is the leading earner of his dam, RBR Lady Belle, a daughter of Shorty Lena that has foaled the winners of more than $317,613.

As for why the $5,000 Novice class seems to suit Wood, the trainer said he enjoys helping horses that have been successful in aged events make the transition into Novice competition.

“I like to have a horse that has been shown in the aged events, and then try to get them to be consistent in the Novice,” he said. “It’s fun, because they don’t start out that way, because the aged eventers, they’re used to showing one time in a week at a big show and then they don’t show until the next month, unless they make the finals or the second go.”

Wood’s previous $5,000 Novice World Finals Show Champions:

* 2017: One Time At Night (One Time Pepto x Lenas Snow x  Docs Stylish Oak). Owned by Teresa Home.

* 2016: Buzzted (Light N Lena x Honey Bee Time x Peptotime). Owned by Christine King.

* 2015: Clays Little Kit Cat (High Brow Cat x Clays Little Kit x Zack T Wood). Owned by Dawn and John Chapman.

* 2014: Scoot Justa Lil (Smart Lil Scoot x Justa Swinging Jane x Justa Swinging Peppy). Owned by Michelle Lemaster.

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