“If someone told me a few weeks back that this is how it was going to be I would have said have another drink”.
That sums up how NCHA Non Pro Champion and NCHA Limited Non Pro Champion, Nikki Morgan is feeling at the moment. “I’m still pinching myself I just don’t believe it.”.
Still a Rookie, you could say that Nikki was the undefeated champion. She won both go-rounds and both the finals, riding This Cats Destiny a Stallion by US Stud WR This Cats Smart out of the prolific mare Colonels Destiny. Nikki jokes “I’m wondering if I should just quit while I’m ahead”. After six years away from the pen Nikki decided it would be a good idea to get a show under her belt before going to Tamworth so she went to Mundala in South Australia and won the Rookies competing on a friends horse. At first glance you could describe Nikki’s success as “overnight” but the reality is horses and cutting have been for her a way of life.
Growing up in Tasmania Nikki’s dad always had cutting horses and her mum was heavily into Western Pleasure. “I mostly did my showing in the Western Pleasure events but did compete in a few youth cuttings, I think I did about three shows and had a couple of wins, I went to my first futurity with my parents when I was four and have been going to cutting shows ever since”.
This Cats Destiny was purchased off Nikki’s stepfather as a yearling. At the time there was some concern that he was blind in one eye. “ If you have a close look you can see a big blue scar over his pupil where he sliced his eye as a youngster, Stacy McGregor has been keeping an eye on him since we bought him, she came and had a look at him at the futurity before we started competing and said she’d be surprised if he had more that 30% sight in that eye, I hate to think what he’d be like if he had full sight, I don’t think I’d be able to ride him”.
Nikki’s husband, pro trainer Guy Morgan was extremely impressed with the gelding from the first time he got on him, in fact he swears that This Cats Destiny is the best horse he has ever ridden. Guy spent a lot time learning from trainers, Craig Emerton, Roger Wagner and Sean Flynn before they moved over to the states and the couple themselves spent time with the Rapps in the US before their seven month stay was cut short by the death of Nikki’s grandmother.
When Nikki rode her horse into the final she had some work to do, Lindsay Wheatley was leading with a score of 147, “I knew I had enough horse under me to do the job, all I had to do was do my bit and hope it was good enough to impress the judges, Lindsay had a good score and I had to decide to whether to go for it or to just be happy with a place, I guess I’m pretty lucky as I don’t get flustered or nervous, I knew my horses was amazing all I had to do is do my job”. And that she did.
Nikki’s first cow was picked by her step dad who was helping in the corner, it was well set up and was cut straight in the middle. “Aaron picked out the second one and he was a good little cow too, once again I cut him in the middle and everything went well, my third cow ran us around a bit but it was only a short run before the siren, I had a big miss but fortunately I must have had enough points from the first two to beat Lindsays score, the third cow didn’t take any points but it didn’t give me any either”.
Its very easy to credit the sire WR This Cats Smart, who is very highly regarded as a sire in the states, being known for his ability to sire very trainable cutting horses, but as Nikki reminded me his mother was no slouch in the pen, “Colonels Destiny comes from the same year as One Moore Spin and they went head to head many a time in their futurity year sometimes it was One Moore Spins day, other’s it was hers.”
This Cats Destiny wasn’t the only horse out of Colonels Destiny competing at this years futurity. there was also another horse by Thelittleredrooster and he made the final too. “They didn’t find out until after the futurity that he had a fractured foot, she is just a great mare, a phenomenal producer, producing her foals are so tuff, they have so much heart”.
Nikki credits her success by having husband Guy as her mentor but also she did most of her learning by going to the practice pen and watching how the others did it when asked if she was a perfectionist she replied, “ yeah I guess I am, I was talking about it with Lindsay later on I can be a bit hard on myself, but it’s the little things that make a difference”.
The pair probably wont be competing now until Tatura and the Victorian Futurity, although Goondiwindi could be a possibility. This Cats Smart will be standing at Stud this breeding season.