SG Icetopman & Mirko Midili • Photo by Bonaga Communication

SG Icetopman Slides Mirko Midili to European Futurity Open Championship

SG Icetopman & Mirko Midili • Photo by Bonaga Communication

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) €162.200-added European Futurity Open finals closed the 11th edition of the prestigious event held, for the third year running, in Cremona, Italy. Once the last horse and rider left the pen, Mirko Midili’s 220.5 score aboard SG Icetopman (SG Frozen Enterprize x AB Lady Topsailena x Spat Olena) was enough to take home the European Futurity Level 4 Open Championship.

For the Italian NRHA Professional, the win was special for more than one reason. With SG Icetopman’s sire between the reins, he won the first major event title of his career — the 2012 Italian Reining Horse Association Open Futurity.

“I had set my eyes on this athletic stallion when he was a yearling, and I wanted to buy him. Finally, last year Cappello purchased him, and I had the opportunity to show him at the Italian Futurity where things did not go too well for us in the finals,” said Midili about the stallion bred and nominated by Marco Franchini. “I was fortunate enough to ride him here, and words cannot express how important it is for me to have been able to show off his incredible athletic ability and to put this title next to his name.”   

Earning reserve honors with a 219.5 was NRHA Million Dollar Rider Cira Baeck riding NF Shining Whiz, a mare by Colonels Shining Gun and out of Whowhizthispeppychic (by Who Whiz It) owned by David Perneel and Kim Windey, bred by Perneel and nominated by Windey.

“My mare did so well for me tonight, and I am very proud of her,” Baeck said.

Gunnanicya MM JB & Grischa Ludwig • Photo by Bonaga Communication

Taking home the Level 3 Open Championship with a 219 was German Grischa Ludwig riding Gunnanicya MM JB (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya x The Knick Nic x Nics Peppy Train), who is owned by Alexandra Schmitz, bred by Sylvia Maile and nominated by Matthias Mueller.

“I am thrilled with this win,” Ludwig said. “I have shown in every edition of the European Futurity but have only won one title here — the Level 2 Open Championship with Whizoom in 2009. We all want to bring this title home, and making it on this horse that is so special to me is amazing. He has matured a lot in these past few months and during this show, he was really easy to prepare.”

Three-time NRHA European Open Champion Morey Fisk and A Wallflower (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz x A Gal With A Gun x Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]), who is owned by AB Annemaana, bred by Jana Leigh Simons and nominated by Shelli Ries, posted a 216.5 for the Level 3 Reserve Championship.

Bugs At Nite & Giovanni Masi De Vargas • Photo by Bonaga Communication

Clinching the Level 2 Futurity Open with a 215.5 score was Giovanni Masi De Vargas riding Bugs At Nite (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite x Scats Ebony Shiner x Smart Shiner). The Markel Graduate bred and nominated by Sheryl Kaefer was purchased as a yearling and is owned by Mariangela Di Pierro.

“When I first saw this horse in Oklahoma City at the [NRHA/Markel] Yearling Sale, I knew he would be a good one,” said Masi about the stallion. “I broke and trained him myself and am thrilled with this win.”

Earning reserve honors with a 214 was Alessandro Frassa with his own Spat Gun Showtime (Spat Split And White x Jamie Showgun x Diamond Supershow) between the reins. The pretty mare was bred and nominated by Ambra Alice Bergese.

Owned and ridden by Daniela Saupe, Smart N Surprising (NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook x Just Miss Enterprise x Surprise Enterprise) closed his run with a 215.5 and the Level 1 Open Championship. Bred by Nuith Linthorst and nominated by Lisbeth De Boer, the stallion was shown last year by Saupe’s husband, Michael, at the Italian Futurity where the duo earned the Level 1 Open Co-Reserve Championship, and by Saupe at the NRHA of Germany Breeders Futurity.

Smart N Surprising & Daniela Saupe • Photo by Bonaga Communication

“We love this stallion’s breeding and decided to purchase him as a yearling,” Daniela said. “He is a great horse that both of us love showing, and winning here was hoped for, but — considering the level of competition — unexpected.”

Two points behind the winner, Clemence Neveux and Alessandro Meconi tied for the Reserve Championship. The first rode Sparkin Step (Horizons Big Step x Shining Sparktolena x Shining Spark), a stallion owned, bred and nominated by Dominique Reynaud. The second rode Sonita Gotta Whiz, a stallion by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Starlights Gate (by Grays Starlight). He is owned by Arturo Pappagallo, and was bred and nominated by Carluccio Orsi.

2019 NRHA European Futurity Facts & Figures

  • More than 300 horses made their way to Cremona
  • Futurity Open entries:
    • Level 4: 21
    • Level 3: 21
    • Level 2: 23
    • Level 1: 15
  • Futurity Non-Pro entries:
    • Level 4: 41
    • Level 3: 42
    • Level 2: 42
    • Level 1: 31
  • Seven Markel Insurance Grads were entered in the two divisions of the Futurity, and all made the finals.
    • Entered in the Open division: Joes Sweet Dream, Great Customer, Bugs At Nite, Walla Whiz A Dun It and Spooks Gotta Deal
    • Entered in the Non-Pro division: Shiney Dun Face and Il Be Automatic