By Simona DialeNational Reining Horse AssociationSeptember 17, 2013
Bernard Fonck and Smart N Sparkin wow the crowd with a 228 to win the 2013 NRHA European Derby in Manerbio, Italy. (Photo courtesy of NRHA)
Draw 2 in the second section of the National Reining Horse Association European Derby Level 4 open finals were Bernard Fonck and Smart N Sparkin, by Smart Chic Olena and out of Setting Off Sparks, a 5-year-old stallion bred by Rosanne Sternberg. After running a flawless and powerful pattern, NRHA Pattern 5, the NRHA $1 million rider thrilled both the crowd and the judges, who paid him back with a score of 228. This score remained unbeaten in the field of 18 finalists.
The NRHA European Derby was September 8-14 in Manerbio, Italy, and held in conjunction with the FEI Junior and Young Riders Reining Championships.
Smart N Sparkin, an athletic stallion who boasts $30,490 NRHA lifetime earnings, with Fonck in the saddle, placed fifth in the Level 4 open division at the 2012 NRHA European Futurity, was reserve champion in the Level 4 open at the 2013 NRHA Germany Breeders Futurity, reserve champion in the Level 4 open at the 2011 Western Event Snaffle Bit Futurity and claimed third place in the Level 4 open at the the 2011 NRHA Germany Breeders Snaffle Bit Futurity.
“My wife Ann has been riding this horse lately and about a month ago we decided that I would show him here. He’s always been really honest in the pen and tonight, even though I asked a lot of him, he was there for me all the way. This is the result of team work between my wife, Ann, the 23 Quarter Horses team, our farrier, Carlo Vercesi, and myself,” Fonck said. “The cherry on the cake tonight was that my wife earned the co-reserve championship here!”
Ann Poels-Fonck, riding Ebony Spook (Smart Spook-Ebony Whiz) for owner Rosanne Sternberg; Gennaro Lendi and Piccolo Spanish (Spanish Snapper-Jokin Peppy), owned by Giancarmine Sabatino; and Cira Baeck and Whizasunnysailor BB (Topsail Whiz-Walla Walla Sunshine), owned by Ruediger Diedenhofen, tied for second place honors after scoring a 225.
Winning the Level 3 open European Derby championship were Francesco Martinotti and Rambo Bo Sun (Bars Jacson Bo-Be Aech Sabra), owned by Giulia Degiovanni.
“I am really lucky to be able to ride such a super horse! He’s so generous. Tonight I really asked for all I could from him and he never hesitated to give me back exactly what I requested from him,” said the 22-year-old rider from Italy who closed his pattern with a score of 223.5.
Bred by Franco Rosso, Rambo Bo Sun has won $16,550 in NRHA competition, and with Francesco, took the Level 1 and 2 open division championship at the 2012 NRHA European Derby and the Level 1 open division championship at the 2012 Italian Reining Horse Association Derby.
The reserve championship in the Level 3 division, with a score of 221, went to the winners of the Level 2 open: Nicola Cordioli and A Reminic Star (Lenas Starfish-Miss Reminic Chex), owned by Allevamento Ongaresca.
“This stallion’s bloodline ... he breeding is all about cutting horses and that’s exactly why he is so athletic,” said an enthused Cordioli. “It took us a while to finally manage to earn a title in the reining circuit: I have been riding him since he was 2, but I think that now we’ve nailed it. For me this is a great result in more ways than one!”
The 2009 stallion, bred by Lino Zivelonghi, has earned $2,219.37 NRHA lifetime earnings and was a Level 2 and 3 finalist at the 2013 NRHA European Futurity with Cordioli in the saddle.
Reserve champions in the Level 2 division, after scoring a 219.5, were Pierluigi Fabbri and Rooster Nic (Gallo Del Cielo-Sanjos Pistolette), owned by Eleonora Felicita Malerba. The pair were on Team Italy, winners of the silver medal in the past edition of the 2013 FEI European Reining Championship in Augsburg, Germany. The 7-year-old stallion bred by James Eakin had earned $38,932 NRHA lifetime earnings before coming to Manerbio.
Winning the Level 1 division, with a score of 215, was Klaus Lechner of Austria aboard his KH Hes A Smart Jac (Smart Spook-TT Playing Jacky).
“I raised and trained this horse on my own,” Lechner said. “He was really good tonight and I just loved his stops. It’s my first title earned in Italy and it’s simply fantastic; I am so happy. My horse will now get a well-deserved rest, then we’ll see what to do next year.”
Reserve champions in the Level 1 division, a half-point behind the winners, were Roberto Prevosti and his Whizzle N Smoke (Remin Whiz-Miss N Smoke).
For complete results, news and photo gallery, visit the event’s official website at www.nrhaeuropeanderby.com.
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