The $48,000-added* Smart Spook European National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Non-Pro Derby held at Western Training Center H&D Schulz in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, provided thrills and excitement.
Until Francesca Ferrarol and her Wimpy Margarita, owned and nominated by her father Maurizio Ferrarol, rode in the pen with one horse left to go in the finals, two riders had posted a 214.5 for the lead: Gina Schumacher with Little Joe Rush and Wolfgang Hammer aboard Call Me Lil Josie.
The 18-year-old Italian rider and her stallion by Wimpys Little Step and out of Custom Margarita (by Custom Crome) had won both the $19,200- added* Level 4 and $14,400-added* Level 3 Non-Pro qualifier. Determined to take the title, the duo came back strong, riding to the Championship and to the $12,150 guaranteed paycheck.
“All I can say is ‘thank you Wimpys Margarita,’” said an emotional Ferrarol. “I couldn’t be more blessed and, as I said after the go-round, he was the coolest horse at our place and I never thought I would ever be able to show him. Thanks to my dad, who believed in us, we managed to win the L3, 2, and 1 Non Pro divisions at the 2019 edition of the NRHA European Derby. We would have won the Level 4 division had we entered and now, his performance today made up for that.”
Once again Ferrarol thanked her trainer past NRHA Intermediate Open World Champion Guglielmo Fontana who, in turn, had three words to say: “They deserve it!”
Schumacher and her NRHA/Markel Sales Graduate Lil Joe Rush (Lil Joe Cash x Rush N Cat x Little Rush), a 2015 gelding bred by Lorenzo Lotti, nominated by Prospects Unlimited, LLC, owned by CS Ranch Management SA, and Hammer riding his own Call Me Lil Josie (Lil Joe Cash x Call Me N Hollywood x Hollywood Dun It), a 2015 mare bred by Sergio Elia and nominated by Wolfgang Hammer tied for the Level 4 Non Pro Reserve Championship.
Tying for the L3 Non Pro Reserve Championship with a 214 score was Enrico Sciulli of Italy riding his own SH Spooksgottabadger (Que Peseta x Shot Gun Shea x Spooks Gotta Gun), a 2015 stallion, nominated by Staffoli Horses SNC, and Dutch Suzanne Scharroo riding her own Shortyslittlestep BB (Wimpys Little Step x Short Rooster x Gallo Del Cielo [Rooster]), a 2014 gelding bred and nominated by Eifel Gold Ranch Baeck.
Three riders decided to run off for the $9,600-added* Level 2 Non-Pro after posting a 213.5: Nikolai Stiller riding his own Hollywood Gunrunner (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x Dun It For Missy x Hollywood Dun It), a 2012 mare bred by James Frahm, nominated by Rudi Kronsteiner; Markus Spreitzhofer riding his own Cant Hide A Gun (PT) (The Big Gun x Cattrena x Cattin), a 2013 gelding bred by Robert Windisch and nominated by Spreitzhofer; and Jürgen Pritz riding his own Rose of Mercedes (Cromed Out Mercedes x Smooth Star Freckles x Keen Freckles), a 2013 mare nominated by Pritz.
Following the run off, the latter took the win with a run paid back by the judges with a 215.5. “This is simply amazing. Winning this title is unbelievable,” said Pritz, who has had his mare since she was a yearling. “She’s 8-year-old now and has always been great to show. The best thing about her is that she is always calm and always perfect!”
Spreitzhofer and Stiller settled for the Reserve Championship after scoring a 213 and 212 respectively and also agreed to tie for the $4,800-added* Level 1.
“We decided to tie for the level 1 and run for the level 2 because it was fair on the horses to do so,” said Stiller. “This mare who I’ve had since she was a yearling has been so good in the past two years and I am thrilled with these results tonight.”
Spreithofer was also happy with his rides and the Championships. “He’s an 8-year-old gelding who I paid in last year and he was so good,” he said. “He did well in the go round and tonight. He’s so easy to ride and has a huge heart.”
The $112,000-added* Colonels Shining Gun NRHA European Derby Open finals will conclude the tenth edition of the Euro Derby on Saturday, July 3. The riders will be vying for the Championship titles as well as a guaranteed $24.300 paycheck for the Level 4 Open Champion. The 2020 European Derby is open to 6-7-8 and 9-year old horses.