The 40th National Cutting Horse Association Futurity in Australia came to close with the crowning of a new champion. Phil Dawson rode Foo Licious, owned by Ryan Fielden to a score of 151. Dawson has earned over half a million as a rider and has been training horses for 13 years. He has previously placed second at the futurity.
Only one Australian-based trainer, Todd Graham, has won more than $1 million. Graham was the Reserve Champion riding his own horse, No Moore One Moore, to a score of 149. No Moore One Moore, a stallion, is out of Graham’s top producing mare One Moore Spin and is by Peptos Stylish Oak.
For the past three years, the Bayer Imax Gold & Tamarang Open Futurity has paid to $70,000 to the winner, while Roo-Hide has supplied a trophy saddle.
Of the American-based trainers entered, John Mitchell finished 15th in the Futurity Open on Little Marla Cat (That Sly Cat x Sanjo Marla x San Jo Lena). Geoffrey Sheehan missed the finals by one hole and Gary Ballenfant made it through to the Wild Card.
American expat, Lindsey McConville Wheatley, who moved to Australia with her husband, trainer Aaron, at the end of 2008, claimed the NCHA Futurity-Pro Championship with a score of 150 aboard Dara TR Cocoas Preview. The pair also finished fourth in the Futurity Open.
Reserve Champion Ian Bush marked a 146.5 on Smart N Casual. Canadian cutter Carl Gerwin purchased his mount, Kitty Pie, a few months before the futurity. The pair finished sixth in the Non-Pro with a 141.5.
The Futurity Amateur Champion was Rowan Harland riding Yulgilbar Co Co to a score of 147 while Smart Cat Sierra ridden by Wes Hall had a 144 for the Reserve.
The event was judged by Andy Adams, Red Bluff, California, and Grant Ogilvie, Clyde, Texas.
At the Landmark Select Cutting Horse Sale, Drive Lady Drive, by Hydrive Cat out of Rey Lady Rey, topped the yearlings with a price of $36,000. She was purchased by Steve and Susan Beale’s Peak Vale Performance Horses.