Ann Fonck and Łukasz Czechowicz lead the Open Derby Qualifier. Carlo Ambrosini rides Gunnalittlestep to lead the Non Pro Qualifier

Łukasz Czechowicz & CSG Magnifique Gun; Ann Fonck & Gunners Specialolena Łukasz Czechowicz & CSG Magnifique Gun; Ann Fonck & Gunners Specialolena Photo by ©Bonaga Communication

The 2019 edition of the Euro 67.000-added Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA) Derby opened the arena on Monday, May 20, to the Open and Non Pro go-round. The Open division counted 104 entries across the four levels

In the first section of the 2019 IRHA Level (L)4 Open Derby qualifier, Ann Fonck riding Spook N Ruffles (by NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook x Ruffle Me Up) for owner Brigitte Steiner of Belgium posted a 220.5 to lead the first section. In the second section the multiple past NRHA Open World Champion rode her second mount, Gunners Specialolena (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite x Dolly Jac Olena) owned by Diego Dalla Gassa to top the qualifier after posting a 221.5 along with Łukasz Czechowicz aboard CSG Magnifique Gun (Colonels Shining Gun x Im Magnifique) owned by Katarzyna Roleska.
“Last year I showed this mare a few times and have been riding her again for the past six weeks,” said Fonck about the 5-year-old mare. “She always tries to do her best and if she makes any mistakes it’s because she tries too much, not because she doesn’t try hard enough!”
Czechowic only had good things to say about his 6-year-old gelding who was shown in the past by Ann Fonck. “This is a very talented horse and was really good in the qualifier,” said Lukasz. “He knows his job and in these days prior to the finals, we will take it easy.”

Leading the L3 and L2 with a 219 was Nico Sicuro riding Quarter Dream’s 7-year-old stallion Sugar Little Step (NRHA Eleven Million Dollar Sire Wimpys Little Step x Ah Sugar Sugar). “I have not been riding this horse for very long and my main goal since I’ve had him is to get to know and trust each other,” said Sicuro about his mount who boasts over $45,500 NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE).

With a 216.5 score, Luca Dossetto rode Surprise Me Chic (Arc Antares Surprise x Babe And Chic) owned by Natalia Gambino to lead the L1 Open division. Head trainer for KN Reining Resort, Dossetto was quick to thank the owner for giving him the opportunity to ride the 6-year-old stallion.

The 38,000-added IRHA Non Pro Derby: All about family

Gunnalittlestep (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya x Gay Jays Llittle Step) was a L4 and L3 Non Pro European Futurity finalist with Paolo Ambrosini in the saddle.  It was a last-minute decision for Paolo to let his son, Carlo, show him at the Italian Derby. With his father’s 4-year-old gelding between the reins, the 19-year-old Italian rider rode to lead the L4 Non Pro division of the Derby to a 217.5. “I have to thank my dad for giving me this opportunity, especially as I did not make the finals on my own horse,” said Carlo. “The pressure is certainly on, now that my dad gave me his best horse!”
In the first section of the Non Pro Derby qualifier, Edoardo Bernardelli took the lead in both the L4 and L3 divisions after scoring a 216.5 aboard his own Whiz Wild West (Spark N Whiz x West Coast Oak). The pair now detain the top score in the L3 division. “I am super pleased with the way my horse went,” said the 29-year-old from Italy. “I now have to manage him as best as I can leading up to the finals and, being the big-hearted horse he is, if I don’t mess up, I know he will do well.”

Carlo Ambrosini & Gunnalittlestep

Wolfgang Hammer dominated L2 division with a 214 score aboard his 2019 NRHA European Futurity L3 and 2 Champion, and L4 Reserve Champion. Chicago Lena  (Smart Chic Olena x Bright Gun City) and his Mr Ricochet (Ricochet Rooster x Docs Oak Rosy). In the L1, two riders topped the qualifier with a 212 score: German Vanessa Kock, and Gilberto Bonzi of Italy. The first rode her 7-year-old stallion QT Red Dun (fDun It On The QT x Moms Lil Ruffian); the second rode CMP Long Legs Jac, a 5-year-old gelding by Arc Surprising Smart out of Leolena Jac.

The IRHA Non Pro Derby finals will be held on Friday, May 24, 2019.

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By Simona Diale  - IHP