Super Stakes Open first go-round competition concluded yesterday with a bubble of 210 points.
Dualin Cats Merada, by Cats Merada, and Geoffrey Sheehan won the go-round with 220 points for Cal and Debbie Sanders.
Short Of Reymarkable, ridden by David Stewart, and Boonie Tunes, shown by Boyd Rice, were the day’s leaders with 218.5-point scores.
“That was a tough set, but she helps a lot,” said Stewart, who performed midway through the fourth set of cattle, where only five other horses scored above 210.
“I had to hang on a little too long on my second cut and dropped (Short Of Reymarkable) in kind of a bad spot. But within four moves she was exactly where she needed to be. She actually makes things easier.”
Stewart purchased the Dual Rey daughter last summer for MGM Casino, which gave her to client Roger Turner, of Midland, TX, as a birthday present.
The mare had been trained to that point by Randy Larson.
Stewart and Short Of Reymarkable were among first go-round leaders in the NCHA Futurity, then went on to place as reserve champions at the Abilene Spectacular.
“She’s pretty wired up and takes a lot of riding, but she retains everything well, and she tries her guts out,” Stewart said.
“You don’t get many like that. She’s easily the best one I’ve ever had.”
Boyd Rice, winner of last year’s NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby aboard Third Cutting, scored 218.5 points on Boonie Tunes, owned by Danny Poole, Texline, TX, and 218 points with Smart Cat Moria for Ralph Gray, Argyle, TX.
Rice and his son Tarin, also a trainer, both worked with Boonie Tunes leading up to the NCHA Futurity. Boyd showed the Peptoboonsmal son as a first go-round leader in the Futurity, but didn’t advance to the finals. He most recently rode the colt to place 12th in the Cattlemen’s Derby.
Tarin Rice showed Smart Cat Moria in the first go-round of the NCHA Futurity, but had to scratch the High Brow Cat daughter from competition when she developed colitis.
It wasn’t until the end of February that Smart Cat Moria was strong enough to be ridden again.
“She’s a pretty exciting little horse to ride,” said Boyd, who won the first go-round of the Cattlemen’s Derby on the mare and placed 10th with her in the finals.
“No one has seen how good she is because she hasn’t filled back out yet and gotten strong. At the Futurity, I thought she could go all the way. But she got sick and didn’t get the shot.”
Smart Cat Moria is a full sister to Smart Kitty RG, also owned by Ralph Gray, reserve champion of the 2008 NCHA Futurity under Lee Francois.
Rockin W, the 2009 NCHA Futurity champion with Tony Piggott, was yesterday’s headliner and crowd favorite.
The Dual Rey son, bred and owned by Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, Millsap, TX, scored 218 points on a run that ended just as Piggott drove his third cow from the herd. But the performance gave spectators a tantalizing taste and reminder of the NCHA Futurity, where Rockin W brought down the house with a 229-point performance that tied the previous record.
“It was a big relief,” said Piggott, after yesterday’s ride. “He’d been a little sore, so I’d only gotten to work him two or three times before this.
“But he’s so smart. I just work him until I feel him kind of thinking and then I quit. He’s a lot like his mother, I think. He knows when it’s time to show.
“He’s got a neat style. He kind of traps those cows and snakes around with his neck.”
Rockin W is out of Boon San Kitty, 2004 NCHA Horse of the Year and the fourth generation bred by Alice Walton, owner of Rocking W Ranch.
“To be Miss Piggy’s first baby and for him to always be so special, and then I’m silly enough to name him after my ranch, it was amazing,” said Walton, after the Futurity win.
Walton, who nicknamed Boon San Kitty “Miss Piggy” because of the mare’s healthy appetite, missed yesterday’s performance to attend a memorial service in Dallas for Bill Ellard, the late husband of Jo Ellard, owner of EE Ranches and a close friend of Walton’s. Bill Ellard passed away on March 16 following a long battle with cancer.
Piggott, who was assistant to Paul Hansma at Bar H Ranche before going to work for Rocking W Ranch, also showed Rockin W in the NCHA Futurity Open Limited finals and is the first limited open rider to win the Open Futurity.
Rockin W was trained by Gary Gonsalves and had been laid off for several months in the fall of 2009 to recuperate from a bruised coffin bone. Piggott stepped aboard for the first time a week before the Futurity.