Lyon, November 3 — The $300,595-added NRHA European Derby held in Lyon, France, during the renowned Equita Lyon fair, closed the third day of reining competition with the Non Pro Derby Finals. It was ladies night in the Oklahoma Arena where a very high level of competition was showcased. Storming into the arena as draw four in the second section of the ELEMENTA European Derby Non Pro Finals, Belgium’s Jody Fonck with Smart Spooky Joe under the saddle set the bar high by performing to a 223. Their score held until the end and the pair pocketed the Level (L) 4, 3 and 2 Championships as well as the Youth Non Pro Championship.
The flashy 7-year-old gelding by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Lil Joe Cash out of Spookody is owned by J&J Comm V and nominated by Jean Louis Coutrot,. “I am so happy and grateful to have the possibility to ride such an amazing horse. We have been together for the whole show season and he is just so incredibly good minded. He is nice to me every single time I ride him. Today he was with me 100%. He gave me all he had…maybe even more,” said the young rider about her mount. “At home, sometimes he’s a little silly as he just cannot stand still yet is always super nice to ride.”
The L4, 3 and 2 Reserve Non Pro Championships went to Germany’s Georgia Wilk who performed a breathtaking run aboard her own 6-year-old mare Pretty Whiz Chic (Winnie the Boo x Rey Nic Chic), nominated by Jessica Dros. The duo scored a 221.5 to also take home the win in the LL Tecnologie Novice Horse Derby Non Pro open to horses with less than $5,000 Lifetime Earnings. “I am super happy and didn’t expect all this; in fact, I just rode her and wanted to stay on pattern,” she said. “I’ve had her since she was a 3-year-old and everyone thought she was a ‘limited’ horse. I wanted to show everyone that she is great and I have no words for what she did for me today. Credit goes to my trainer Johannes Heil who stepped up my game this year and gave me so much confidence in the show pen. I could not be any happier.”
The Derby Youth Reserve Championship went to Nanina Staub of Switzerland who performed yet another stellar run aboard Oak Smoking Face (NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit x Genuine Benito). Their 220 score also earned them fourth place honors in the L4 and L3 divisions. The 8-year-old gelding is owned by Staub’s mother Sabine Schmid and was nominated by Giulia Amolaro.
Laura Kraft and her own Incredible Spook (Best Spook x Good Lookin Dun It), a 6-year-old gelding nominated by Katerina Lill, posted a 215 to clinch the L1 Championship. “He truly is an incredible horse! We bought him at the [NRHA Germany] Breeders Derby this year so we’re a new team and get on really well. Coming to this show wasn’t in the plans but my trainer convinced me two weeks ago,” she said. “He is the sweetest horse and I really wasn’t expecting to win this title and was so happy we made all levels of the Finals here. It’s my first major win and considering that this is a really big show with a high level of competition, I am thrilled. The plans are now to take a winter break, and then go from there!”
Kraft also tied for Reserve honors in the LL Tecnologie Novice Horse Derby Non Pro along with Nikolai Stiller and JJ Spooking Voodoo (NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Shiners Voodoo Dr x Spool Pop Chex), a 5-year-old mare nominated by NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Bernard Fonck. Taking the L1 Reserve Championship was Belgium’s Erik Verschueren and HR Spooks Revolution (NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz x Revolutions Diamond), an 8-year-old gelding owned and nominated by Golden Paint Ranch.
Seven riders competed in the $1,750- added APHA Chrome Cash Incentive L4 Non Pro Derby qualifier. The highest score was marked by Francesca Sternberg of Great Britain and her own 7-year-old gelding Red Dirt Paleface (NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit x Lost In Tinseltown). The duo went on to win the Championship on Friday after closing their run with a 215. “We love Paint Horses and I’m proud to ride a Paint,” said Sternberg who owns and nominated her horse. “I won the APHA World Show on Red Dirt Paleface three years ago and my daughter Tabitha took reserve honors. I’ve been showing ‘Solo’ for four years and I absolutely love this little horse. I’ve been showing horses for over 40 years and I’ve had a lot of horses but this one has stolen my heart completely and will never leave our family. We won the L3 Derby in the U.S. and won close to $100,000, but that doesn’t matter! We now have his little brother and George will show him at the NRHA Futurity.”
The ELEMENTA NRHA European Derby Non Pro counted two MARKEL Sale Graduates in the finals:
– Step Stones (NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Twelve Sire Wimpys Little Step x Moonstone Mega) owned, nominated, and ridden by Sabine Schmid
– Angel On Fire (NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Inferno Sixty Six x Lena Dun It) owned and nominated by Luga QH LLC and ridden by Giovanni Lugara.
The Quarter Dream NRHA Limited Open saw Anders Josefsson of Sweden and Gotta Shiney Whiz (NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz x Cee Bee Shine) take the win with a 213 score. Half point behind, tying for second place was Steve Ouellet and Walla Whiz A Dun It (NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz x The Bun Is Dun) owned by Katja Zrimsek, and John Navillod riding ARH Be Stylish Shine (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Shine Chic Shine x Style Holly Dun It) owned by Corine Novi.
Tomorrow, November 4, Equita Lyon will host the 2023 NRHA European Derby Open Finals including The Run For A Million 2024 – Million Dollar Reining Competition qualifier.
Tickets for the exciting event are sold out but fans have the chance to follow the competition live for free here: nrhaeuropeanderby.com/live.
For further information and full results: NRHAEUROPEANDERBY.com / EQUITALYON.com.fr
Photos by Wanted Photo
Thank you to the 2023 NRHA European Derby Sponsors:
• GL Events and Equita Lyon
• NRHA Global Partners Markel Equine (Official Insurance Partner of NRHA), MS Diamonds TX (Official Diamond Partner of NRHA), Toyon Ranch, Clark’s Pump-N-Shop, Cardinal Reining Horses
• The Run For A Million
• LL Tecnologie
• Quarter Dream
• Roleski Ranch
• Grey Stone Ranch
• AM Rising Star Ranch
• Gunna Sparkle
• APHA Chrome Cash Incentive Program
NRHA European Derby Media Contact:
Simona Diale / International Horse Press
Cell: +39 340 5354629