Barbagli and Gunnabeagreatdude Top the First Million Dollar Added MS Diamonds TX NRHA European Futurity Open

Francesco Barbagli & Gunnabeagreatdude Francesco Barbagli & Gunnabeagreatdude
May 26, 2024

Cremona, May 26 — The first European million dollar added event took place in Cremona, Italy, attracting 179 horse-rider combinations from 12 countries entered across the four levels of the Open and Non Pro divisions in the 16th edition of the NRHA European Futurity.

Level 4

On Saturday night in front of a full house, and with a 225.5 posted by Manuel Cortesi earlier in the draw to beat, Francesco Barbagli and Gunnabeagreatdude stormed into the oval arena. Not only did they nail their first stop and back required by NRHA pattern #10, they also performed a hand-down, slack in the reins, precise run conquering the public in the stands. Their 226 score topped the leaderboard securing the $420.000-Added Level (L)4 Open Championship, a $75,154 pay check, and the MS Diamonds TX Championship ring.

“I don’t know what to say and I won’t hide the fact that I shed a tear or two after realizing I had won,” said the Italian Professional. “This horse’s talent is simply incredible; he performs all the maneuvers so naturally and is so honest. The trust I have in him is what made us me risk it all and win tonight. Though I am thrilled for the horse, his owner, and myself, I still don’t believe it!”

The flashy Società Agricola Le Fattorie di Matilde bred sorrel stallion by ARC Gunnabeabigstar and out of Great Dudes Whiz is owned by Alessio Fraboschi and was nominated by Vittorio Rabboni.

Adding the Reserve Championship to his accolades was 2023 European Futurity Open Champion Manuel Cortesi this time riding Frozen Sven (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire SG Frozen Enterprize x Ladymaster) for owners Arcese/Cuoghi. Impresa Agricola Cuoghi bred and nominated the athletic stallion who boasts the IRHA Open Futurity Reserve title as well as the NRHA Germany Breeders 3-year-old L4 Open Futurity Championship with Cortesi in the saddle. The duo added $62,170 to their lifetime earnings (LTE).

Giuseppe Prevosti & Top Whiz Shine


Level 3

In the first section of the Open Finals, Italy’s Giuseppe Prevosti piloted Top Whiz Shine (NRHA Million Dollar Sire Colonels Shining Gun x So Whiz Up) to a 224.5. Their score held earning them the $140.000-Added L3 Championship and a $30,925 check.

“This horse was bred and broke by his owner,” said Prevosti about the stallion owned and nominated by Tullio Mascarello. “I rode his mother, who I showed throughout her long career, and when I got him in training I liked him immediately; I showed him at the pre futurities but at the IRHA Futurity we were a little unlucky and didn’t make the finals. In the qualifier here we got a freeze up penalty [which is the reason we didn’t make the level 4 finals so this win gave us the opportunity to show everyone what a good horse he is. I am so happy things turned out this way.”

L3 go round leaders, Stefano Cerutti of Italy and Questionably Frozen (SG Frozen Enterprize x Unquestionably Crome), settled for Reserve honors after performing to a 220. The stallion, an NRHA/Markel Futurity Sale graduate, owned by Stefano Scotti and nominated by Lorenzo Lotti took home a $22,960 pay check.

Patrick Goeschl & Yell Low Stone


Level 2

Patrick Goeschl of Germany and Yell Low Stone (Tarysmart x Whiz Jackie) closed their run with a 218.5 to claim the $91.000-Added L2 Championship and $18,240. The stallion is owned by Geraldine Grafen and was nominated by Helmut Schulz.

“I have no words, it was just awesome,” said NRHA Million Dollar Rider Grischa Ludwig’s assistant about his run. “It felt really good; we had awesome stops and even though we over-spun both ways, we circled well and I felt pretty comfortable during the run. I trusted him going in and it worked out. Now he is going to get a short break and then we will continue with the futurity season.”

Sebastiano Valtorta claimed second place honors scoring a 218 aboard AC Not Ruf My Whiz (NRHA Million Dollar Sire Not Ruf At All x Gotta Shiney Remedy), a stallion owned by Giovanni Cioli and nominated by Alessandro Cazzaniga. The pair pocketed $13,528.

Steven Della Casa & Lenas Frozen Gun


Level 1

Opting for the Co-Championship in the $49.000-Added L1 division after scoring a 214.5 were Italy’s Steven Della Casa and French Kevin Paquet. They both added $6,766 to their LTE.

Della Casa rode the Allevamento Cisal QH Srl owned and nominated gelding, Lenas Frozen Gun (Hollywood Gun Dunnit x Frozen Sparn). “I’m really happy with this title,” he said hot off his win. “This is my third special event and I truly want to thank all the Cisal team and owner Mario Erbetta for giving me this opportunity and for all their support. I broke and trained this horse and have had him since he was a 2-year-old so this makes this win even sweeter.”

Kevin Paquet & ND Step N Crome


Kevin Paquet rode ND Step N Crome (Walla Whiz Crome x Dun Step N Out), a flashy palomino mare owned by Birgit Schaefer and nominated by Nathalie Derua. “I’m really happy about tonight for more reasons than one: It’s my first time here, I’m riding the first 4-year-old I made myself, and she was there for with me all the way,” said Paquet who purchased her as a 2-year-old from Derua and has had her in training since. “As a 3-year-old she had an injury which kept her out of the futurities so she took a rest during the winter and this is the second show for her. She’s a really good minded and cool horse, gifted, and fun to ride. My wife will show her in the Non Pro Austrian Futurity and I will show her both in the German Breeders Futurity and in Italy.”

European Futurity Level 4 Open APHA Chrome Cash Incentive

France’s Arnaud Girinon and QQ Merlin Whizard (Colonels Shining Gun x Whiz a Blue) scored a 221.5 in the qualifier and was the only APHA registered horse in the Level 4 Open finals making him the $1,250-added NRHA European Futurity L4 Open American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Chrome Cash Incentive Champion. The stallion, owned by Sabatino QH Srl, was nominated by Chiara Colombi. “I am a little disappointed about the finals where things didn't go as planed but was really happy with him in the go round. This was our first show together and now I know how to prepare him better next time. Hopefully the future will bring some better runs since we know what to work on now,” said Girinon.


Arnaud Girinon & QQ Merlin Whizard


The 2025 edition of the NRHA European Futurity will be held during the Salone del Cavallo Americano in Cremona, Italy, offering $1,000,000 added money. The added includes the NRHA Nomination Program purse and the contribution of the IRHA Corporate Partners and European Purse Supporters.

Photos Bonaga Communication

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