Rockin W rocked the house last night in Fort Worth with a 229-point victory in the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity. Tony Piggott was aboard the Dual Rey son for Alice Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, which accepted the winner’s check of $250,000. The score ties that of Royal Fletch in 2000 as the all-time Futurity record.
Reserve champions Yadacat and Michael Cooper scored 226 points, as the seventh to work in the first set, immediately before Rockin W and Piggott rode to the herd.
“It’s amazing,” said Walton (with Rockin W in NCHA photo by Jill Dunkel) who raised Rockin W, a fourth generation Walton-bred out of 2004 NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty, a mare Walton fondly refers to as Miss Piggy because of her appetite for food and life.
“For him to be Miss Piggy’s first baby and always so special, and then I’m silly enough to name him after my ranch, it’s kind of a Cinderella thing,” Walton added.
This was Piggott’s first time to show in the NCHA Futurity Open Finals and although he works for Rocking W, he was catch-riding Rockin W for Gary Gonsalves, who trained the colt, but opted to show two other horses instead.
“He’d been laid off for a couple of months because he had a bruised coffin bone from being shod,” Walton explained. “Gary loved him, but that’s why he didn’t show him.
Rockin W turned heads three weeks ago in the first go-round of the Futurity, when he scored 220 points. He followed with 216 points in the second go-round, and advanced to the finals on a 218.5-point Semi-Finals score.
“I’m just a jockey,” said Piggott, 37, pictured with Rockin W following the first go-round, and after having worked the colt for the first time just days before. “We really hadn’t gotten along all that well. He has a lot of draw and it’s been difficult for me to get with him and keep him up out of the herd.
“He’s got a cool style,” Piggott added. “He traps those cows and snakes around with his neck. He’s a neat horse.”
Piggott also qualified Rockin W for the NCHA Futurity Limited Open Finals on Thursday, where he placed fourth with 215 points and earned $15,496.
A native Aussie, Piggott came to the States 13 years ago with a love for horses, but no riding experience. He learned the basics from Terry Clifford, and worked for him for six years. After a two-year hiatus from the horse business, Piggott went to work for Paul Hansma at Bar H Ranche.
“Paul taught me all about showing and finishing a horse,” said Piggott, who placed third in the 2008 NCHA Super Stakes Classic on Boiler Room, owned by Bar H Ranche.
Piggott was also reserve champion of the 2007 NCHA Futurity Open Limited division on Pedual To The Medual.
Reserve champion Michael Cooper was an NCHA Futurity finalist for the first (and only previous) time in 2007, when he placed 25th on Hesa Smart Taz. Yadacat, by High Brow Cat, also scored 220 points in the first go-round, but qualified for the Finals with 215.5.
Only four other horses in addition to Rockin W and Royal Fletch have scored 226 or higher in the NCHA Futurity: High Brow CD with 226, in 2007; Oh Cay Felix with 227, in 2006; Highbrow Supercat with 226.5, in 2005; and One Smart Lookin Cat with 226, in 2003.