Horse-mad Scone in the Upper Hunter of NSW pulled out all stops to make the national aged titles at the 4CYTE Autumn Spectacular a stunning competition and celebration after two years of Covid-19 postponements.
The riders were competing for their industry’s prestigious Aged Event Titles as well an impressive prize pool that included $50,000 in added money. “Cutting horses and riders converged on Scone from Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and regional NSW, as well as from as far afield as New Caledonia.
“Clearly cutters are getting back to doing what they love. This event was well received by the cutting horse community after two years of lockdown and travel restrictions,” says JP Chevalier, NCHA general manager.
The first half of the week of 12-19 March at White Park mainly consisted of go rounds one and two for each of the aged event classes taking place, where competitors aimed to notch up a high enough aggregate score to secure a spot in the finals at the end of the week.
One of the finals that did run earlier on in the week was the Wrigley Cattle Co Open Classic Challenge, which was taken out by Victorian trainer Aaron Wheatley aboard the Tri Star Quarter Horses-owned Spoonfula Hope (Koonamara Spoonfula Badge x Chickasha Hope), with a very impressive score of 228 points. Taking out reserve honours was the Samantha Stepnell-owned Crystal Park Cats a Glory (Ima Smooth Blue Cat X Dulces Glory) with 222 points, ridden by another Victorian-based trainer, Dean Holden. Only one point behind in third place was Goondiwindi trainer Robert Mackay aboard the Yulgilbar Quarter Horse Stud-owned Yulgilbar Ima Black Cat (Ima Smooth Blue Cat x Yulgilbar Well Played Oak).
At the completion of the first two rounds of the Scone Equine Group Non Pro Futurity, the Bar Code Direct Non Pro Amateur Futurity title was decided and awarded to long-time cutting enthusiast and industry supporter Sidney Myer and Yulgilbar Keep N Sweet (Smooth As A Cat x Winderadeen Short N Sweet). The pair took out the title with their aggregate score of 427 over the two rounds. Second place went to Sam Campbell and Pretty Wiskas (Smooth As A Cat x Winderadeen Cat Ballou) with 424. In third was Bill Tonkin aboard Countin Every Minute (Im Countin Checks x One Hellofa Time) on 423 points.
The Select Sires Open Futurity Limited Final run on Wednesday afternoon was won by Walcha trainer Mat Oakley aboard the Ali Ali-owned High Voltage (Highway To Hell x Spin N Metallic), with a lovely 216-point run. Taking up second place was local trainer Warwick Screen aboard Kayla Warrian’s Twice The Shine (Metallic Cat x Duloc Peppys Destiny) with 214.5 points. Just behind on 214 to place third was Phil Smith and Matilda Woodward’s young colt, Full Boar Style (Smooth As A Cat x Stylish Doll).