Austin Shepard @ Eastern Nationals
On Tuesday, March 7, in Jackson, Miss., Austin Shepard claimed an unparalled first, second and third, riding Deluxe Checks, Paradox Cat, and Wendels Grace, in the $25,000 Novice Finals of the 2017 NCHA 6666 Eastern Nationals. Eastern Nationals veteran open winner Guy Woods placed fourth in the $25,000 Novice Finals with 219 points on Ichi Sangria.
Deluxe Checks LTE $135,809, who qualified for the finals on the bubble, with 215.5 points, took no prisoners with a 228-point performance midway through the second set of the 28-horse finals. Paradox Cat, who drew first to work in the first set, scored 222 points for reserve; and Wendels Grace, the last horse to work in the finals, scored 220.5 points for third.
Six-year-old Deluxe Checks, sired by Im Countin Checks and owned by Amanda and Rhein Standish, Baton Rouge, La., has been successful in open limited age events under Shepard, as well as with Amanda Standish in amateur and limited non-pro events.
Paradox Cat LTE $109,884 and Wendels Grace LTE $72,401 are owned by Blakley Colgrove, Boligee, Ala. Shepard won the go-round of the $25,000 Novice Finals with 224 points on Paradox Cat, a 6-year-old High Brow Cat gelding, who carried Blakley as Amateur champion of the 2014 NCHA Futurity and Shepard as Open champion of the 2015 Augusta Futurity.
Wendels Grace scored 219 points in the go-round to advance to the $25,000 Novice Finals. The 6-year-old mare, sired by High Brow CD, won the 2015 Ike Hamilton Futurity Amateur Unlimited championship with Blakley and also placed fifth with Shepard in the open division of the same event.
Ichi Sangria LTE $140,630, ridden by Guy Woods, was champion of the 2015 $5,000 Novice NCHA Eastern Nationals, as well as champion of the 2016 $5,000 Novice NCHA Eastern Nationals and the 2016 $15,000 Novice NCHA Eastern Nationals. The 7-year-old daughter of Cat Ichi is owned and was bred by EE Ranches, Whitesboro, Tex. Jo Ellard, owner of EE Ranches rode Play Satin Beauty, Ichi Sangria’s third dam, to win the $20,000 Amateur championship of the 1992 Eastern Nationals, and Woods showed Ichi Sangria’s dam, Scratchin, by Laker Doc, to win the 2004 NCHA Eastern Nationals Open championship.
In the $5,000 Novice go-round, Nick Pilcher marked 219.5 on LCS Silver Cat to lead a three-way tie for second between Louis The Cat, Mississippi Trick, and MK Rey Girl, all with 219s.
LCS Silver Cat is owned by Larry Cooper of Orleans, Indiana. The 4-year-old is by High Brow Cat out of Ms Silver Pitchfork. He has earned over $16,000, and was reserve champion of the recent Augusta Futurity.
Louis The Cat is an 8-year-old son of High Brow Cat out of Louella Again, owned by Michael and Amy Delange of Fort Gratiot, Michigan and ridden by Casey Crouch.
Mississippi Trick is a 7-year-old gelding by Mississippi Cat out of Babes Stylish Trick owned by Bailey Krebbs of Reeds Spring, Missouri and ridden by Josh Dozier.
MK Rey Girl is a 7-year-old daughter of Dual Rey out of Runnin Mate owned by Gale Force Cutting Horses of Conway, South Carolina and ridden by Kevin Walde
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