An Open Day at Equus Arabians stud near Barcelona in 2008. When guests depart after the presentations, only a handful of closest friends remain. During a close circle supper the stud’s owner, the Barcelona lawyer Albert Sorroca, announces a surprise – next morning he will show a new stallion, which has not yet been publicly exhibited. There is no end to the speculations: is it an import from across the pond? What dam line does he represent? Why is his arrival a secret? In the morning the friends of the house grow more and more impatient. They want to already see this mysterious stallion. In the meantime a mare appears before their eyes –
the beautiful, milky-white, exotic Salymah E.A. by Khidar. The guests become aware of the importance of this moment only when an unbelievingly beautiful two month old foal emerges from behind the mare – SHANGHAI E.A. The colt embodies the dreams of every breeder: correctly built, full of type, with an extremely exotic head and a black, large eye. He circles with interest round his dam, bouncing off the ground like a ball on his long legs and a flagged tail.
It was already then that the first breeders lined up to secure breedings to him. And already then the news spread that a new star was born at Equus Arabians.
„I received the first offers when Shanghai E.A. was just a couple months old”, says Albert Sorroca. “With time they became higher and more tempting. However to me Shanghai E.A. is my life project. We all want our ideas and passions to become reality and we devote a lot of energy to make that happen. I carried an image of an ideal Arabian horse in my head. Anyone who shares this passion, strives to breed horses as close to his dream ideal as possible. It is rarely accomplished, but when it does happen, then the satisfaction cannot be compared to anything else. Shanghai E.A. is a dream turned reality.”
The breeder knew that a true pearl was born from the very beginning.
„When I saw the foal out of Salymah E.A., I had no doubt that it marked the beginning of a new era. At my stud I have his dam, who is of my breeding, his grandam Libanon Azadika by Om El Azadik and I also had his great-grandam, Warandes Shaklana by El Shaklan and his great-great-grandam. When you have the opportunity to observe four generations you know how the foals from this line develop. And a thorough knowledge of the evolution of dam lines allows you to know that something remarkable was born in your stud in just one moment. To me it was evident that this very light-colored, very much resembling Bambi foal will not worsen.”
How does one breed such a marvel? “Of course, luck had something to do with it, but I wouldn’t call Shanghai’s birth a chance occurrence. A vision, determination, work and commitment are decisive”, says Sorroca who, although a lawyer in his professional life, was interested in genetics almost from childhood. This passion resulted in twenty of his years being devoted to bird breeding. He experimented, trying various matings. He traveled the world, observing the achievements of other breeders. He claimed the title of World Champion with his specimens three times. And then he decided that he had achieved all that there was to achieve in this area and that the time had come to try something different. “I have inherited as interest in nature, especially horses, from my father and grandfather. Three generations of my family served in the army, in the Numancia 9 cavalry regiment. My father was a champion rider in show jumping. When I decided to open my own stud I first traveled a lot in order to find inspiration. The foundations of Equus Arabians became Polish mares or mares with Polish pedigrees. I think that their best qualities are a correct conformation and athletic abilities.”
„I searched for a suitable stallion for mares with Polish blood”, explains the breeder. “To me Khidar (Ansata Sinan – Elizja/Esta-Ghalil) seemed like such a stallion, as in his pedigree we find numerous Polish accents. The result of these matings turned out fabulous. I obtained seven daughters of Khidar descending from Polish damlines, which became the basis of the Equus Arabians breeding program. Then a chance appeared to take over Khidar’s maternal stud, thanks to which I expanded the breeding program with his daughters from other lines, as well as sisters and further “cousins”. I really wanted a dosage of El Shaklan blood and Khidar gave me such a possibility through El Shaklan’s dam Estopa, who appears in Khidar’s pedigree twice. In turn WH Justice’s dam is the granddaugher of El Shaklan, so Shanghai E.A. has even more of that blood.”
„I decided to try mating the charismatic WH Justice with the most correct mares in my herd”, he continues. “Salymah E.A. seemed like a perfect candidate – tall, with a perfect body and topline and excellent legs – having inherited her superb conformation from Khidar.”
Albert Sorroca planned the show career of Shanghai as thoroughly as his pedigree. In the first year the foal was trained and shown by the Equus Arabians manager, Bertrand Valette. The horse debuted as a yearling at the C-ranked show in Albi (France), at once gaining the junior stallion championship. Already then it was evident that he’s a true show horse who feels at home on the show arena, loves to draw attention and that performing is his passion! The next trophies were collected still that very same year in Bordeaux during the Arabian Masters show. In Menton (A-ranked) he placed second in class (behind the stallion LA Karat), but was honored with the prestigious public’s award of “VIP Coup de Coeur”. The next stop on his way to stardom was Hasselt (Belgium) and the title of Elran Cup (A-ranked) Junior Champion Stallion. Later Aachen (second in class, behind Kahil Al Shaqab), Verona (four “20s” for type and head & neck) and a Junior Stallions Silver Medal in the European Championships and Paris – where Shanghai ended the show season with the titles of “Espoir” (Hope) and Best Head of the Show.
He received the trophy for Best Head in the next season also, which he began with a performance at the Al Khalediah Festival in Saudi Arabia. However 2010 for the young star was not a year of shows, but a first exam at the role of chief sire. He was bred to a large number of mares as for a two year old. This year more than 30 foals were born by Shanghai, out of which two third are fillies. Next year some 60 foals are expected by him. He triumphantly returned to the show arena in 2011.
„The cards in the three year old colts’ class were dealt out in the very beginning, because no horse could threaten the Spanish (from Equus Arabians) Shanghai E.A., who at full speed burst onto the arena to the beats of «Macarena»”, we wrote on polskiearaby.pl in our September coverage of the show in Prague. “Very well-known from numerous shows over the past years, he received as many as four «20s» for type and head and neck, which gave him a final score of 92,67. Nobody was surprised that he also received the Gold in the finals, as well as the Gold Cup in the Prague European Cup classification. Beyond all doubt his star will shine very brightly in this season also”. This prognosis came true very fast, because as soon as during the recent All Nations Cup in Aachen, where Shanghai’s sire WH Justice also enjoyed great successes.
“However before we got to see the star of this year’s All Nations Cup, a sensation was created by one of his sons”, Rafał Czarnecki reported on our website. “The three year old Shanghai E.A. won his class with a high score of 93,3 points, besting by 0,4 points one of the main favorites of the show, the bay Kahil Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Mishaahl/Mishaah). The milky-white Shanghai E.A. was the only one out of all the assessed juniors to gain a full set of «20s» for head and neck. (…) In the hands of Frank Spönle he displayed a movement full of expression complete with a raised tail, which undoubtedly resulted in higher notes for type (two «20s» and three «19,5s»). In the championships only Gianmarco Aragno didn’t write him down as the gold medalist (…). And so with that the Champion title went to the Spanish stud of Equus Arabians, which bred, promoted and led this colt to the very top all on their own! An exceptional achievement and quite a rarity in Arabian horse breeding. In the majority of cases European breeders sell their promising graduates to Middle Eastern owners, who later go on to win medals at the most prestigious shows”.
Shanghai’s victory during the European Championships in Verona was no less spectacular. He first won his class with a score of 466.5 points (including five “20s” for head & neck), which gave him an average of 93.3. In the finals he bested the Belgian son of Michałów’s Emocja by Monogramm – the stallion Espressivo by QR Marc (bred by Knocke Arabians).
The climax of the show season will of course be the World Championships in Paris. It doesn’t seem probable that any young stallion should threaten Shanghai E.A., though of course nothing is yet determined. But Shanghai’s chance for the Triple Crown is huge.
And how did the extremely young Shanghai E.A. do in his so far one season breeding career?
„I can already say with much certainty that Shanghai E.A. marks his get very strongly with his traits”, Sorroca tells polskiearaby.pl. “He passes on a correct conformation, type, an exotic, short head with a wide forehead and a large, black eye. He definitely improves «white» eyes – among thirty of his offspring from the first crop there is not a single foal with whites in his eye. His offspring are tall, sport a very long neck, short body and great movement. In all cases Shanghai E.A. provided breeding progress. None of the foals are worse than their dam and some even present the highest world-class quality. Additionally the stallion passes on his extremely pleasant character. Shanghai E.A., who on the show arena is dynamic and full of energy, acts calm and trusting upon returning to his stable.”
How does he cross with mares bearing Polish pedigrees?
„Superbly. Some examples of this are California E.A. out of Cyrea by Khidar, Encore RV out of Epifania by Emigrant or TM Zahina out of Zarina E.A. by Khidar.”
“Of course it is too early to ascertain such a thing for sure”, sums up Sorroca, „but it seems that Shanghai E.A. may contribute to making the next step on the road to improving the Arabian breed.”.