This year’s Aachen turned out to be not just good, but simply sensational for the Polish team. Both important awards – the All Nations Cup Trophy, named the Lady Harmsworth Blunt Trophy and the Breeders Trophy, which bears the name of the Major Hedley Memorial Trophy – were won by Poland. The largest credit for this goes to Michałów State Stud, which gathered the most points and who returns home with a Gold Medal in the Senior Mares’ Championship for Emandoria. This mare also received an award sponsored by Athbah Stud for the highest scored horse of the show. “There is great joy at Michałów”, told us Urszula Białobok, the Michałów’s main breeder, moments after the results were announced. “To have four out of eight contestants in the finals is truly a great achievement. We are extremely happy.”
We had several chances during the second day of the All Nations Cup to be proud of Polish breeding, not just when the more than satisfactory championship results were announced. Each time when a horse of Polish origin received “20s” across the board for movement, we could rest assured about the future of our breeding. And that took place as many as four times: in the case of the Athbah Stud-owned and Michałów-bred Ellissara and her former stablemates – Emmona (who was additionally awarded with 4×20 and one “19,5” for type), Palmira and Zagrobla (who also gathered four other “20s”). An almost perfect result for this trait was scored by the Athbah-leased Girlan-Bey (bred by Michał Bogajewicz): 4×20 and one “19.5”.
The first to show up on the arena today, to a splendidly chosen musical background by Suzi Poth (from film to club music, from classical to evergreens – we are counting this might be inspirational for our Polish show “DJs”), were mares aged 7-10 years and among them four of Polish breeding: Primadonna (Padrons Psyche – Pelargonia/Alegro), bred by Stanisław Redestowicz and owned by Tomasz Tarczyński, Michałów’s Palanga (Ekstern – Panika/Eukaliptus), Janów’s Palmeta (Ecaho – Pilica/Fawor) and the already mentioned Ellissara (Laheeb – Ekscella/Monogramm). The highest score out of this foursome was garnered by Ellissara, who beside the maximum marks for movement could also boast an additional two “20s” for type, which gave her a final result of 93,3. This fantastic score, however, allowed her to secure just third place in class. Victorious was the evaluated at 93,5 points Saudi mare Jamilla Al Zobair by Ashhal Al Rayyan (from Al Khalediah Stables), wonderfully shown by Michael Byatt, who this year celebrates a 40 year anniversary of his professional career in the Arabian industry (as breeder, judge, manager and handler). The judges awarded her with an entire string of “20s” for type, 3×20 for head and neck and one more “20” for movement. Ellissara had to also yield before the Dubai representative Ladi Veronika by Versace (also with a score of 93,5, which included 7×20). Securing a spot in the Top Five of this class was also Palanga (92,6, including two “20s”). Palmeta placed ninth (91,9), Primadonna – eleventh (91,5). Regardless of the classification of each mare the quality of this class was extremely leveled and the highest possible, evidence to which are the marks received by all the competitors.
The 11 years old and above mares’ class saw as many as five representatives of Polish breeding. Only one competitor on the arena – the British-owned Bylinka by Piligrim – represented Russian breeding (Tersk). The judges were not unanimous in the assessment of this mare – her marks fluctuated from “17,5” to “19,5” for type, whereas they liked her movement: she was awarded with four “20s” for this trait. A high final score of 91,3 however still put her in final place. The Polish rivals left her no chance: Michałów’s Emmona (Monogramm – Emilda/Pamir, 94,4), Zagrobla (Monogramm – Zguba/Enrilo, 94,3) – shown by guest handler Frank Spoenle, Palmira (Monogramm – Palestra/Penitent, 93,4), the Athbah Stud-owned Etenta (Monogramm – Emigracja/Palas, 91,7) and Euskara (Ararat – Euglena/Banat, 91,4), bred at Kurozwęki Stud and owned by Liesl Els from RSA, a regular Belgian resident.
When the mares finished their competition the arena was entered by stallions aged 4-6 years. Our representatives – Kabsztad (Poganin – Kwestura/Monogramm) and Alert (Piaff – Andaluzja/Sanadik El Shaklan) – had to face such stars as the sons of Marwan Al Shaqab: Baanderos and QR Marc. The latter two dictated the rules of the game in this class. Victorious was Baanderos from Al Khalediah Stables in the hands of Michael Byatt, with a sensational score of 94,6, including 4×20 for type, 2×20 for head and neck, high marks for the body and a “20” for movement. QR Marc, owned by Paul Gheysens from Belgium, with a score of 93,2 which included a “20” for type and 3×20 for movement, was second. Still our contestants made it into the Top Five. Kabsztad was fourth (91,4) and Alert fifth (91,3).
Standing out very clearly among the 7-10 year old stallions during the initial presentation was Girlan-Bey (Pesal – Gracja Bis/Monogramm) and it was him who received the trophy for first place (93,7). He was out of reach for MCA Magnum Gold by Magnum Psyche (representing Al Khaled Farm), despite the latter’s six “20s” (93,4). Two contestants from Poland, Equifor (Gazal Al Shaqab – Equiria/Pers, 91,9) and Salar (Ecaho – Saba/Etat, 91,1), placed sixth and seventh, respectively.
The class of 11 year old and above stallions saw only three horses compete. The winner was the daringly shown by his owner, Jan Calis, oldest in this group (born 1992) Lobeke by Fiolek, bred by Teresa de Borbón, with a score of 92,1, including 2×20 for movement.
A moment later Jan Calis appeared in a different role, namely the sponsor of the award for Best Handler. Participating in this contest was Piotr Żuber from Bełżyce, who delivered a splendid performance with the superbly moving Kashira. Victorious in this competition turned out to be Nicolas Frère, a Belgian working at the training center of the Schoukens brothers. Second placed Karolina Mikkonen from Sweden – from Johanna Ullström’s training facility – who presented Chaos Persefona.
The Junior Mares Championship was played out between FT Shaella and Alma Al Tiglio (their advertising duel had already been going on for several months) – both could’ve reached for the gold. In the end this feat was accomplished by FT Shaella. The bronze went to Mystica Indiah. Unfortunately Zigi Zana remained outside of the titled Top Three.
The Junior Stallions Championship justified the rightness of Athbah Stud’s decision on the purchase of Aja Justified, as he won the Gold Medal in the finals before Kahil Al Shaqab. The bronze went to RFI Farid by RFI Maktub, imported from Brazil to Italy, who entered the finals from second place in the three year old colts’ class.
After the presentation of the senior mares which qualified for the finals we had a break due to an unfortunate incident. It turned out that two stallions from the oldest class clashed. The skirmish was so serious that – as the show’s announcer Klaus Georg Beste announced – the owners decided that an intervention of the veterinary officer is required and withdrew the stallions from the finals. Also harmed was handler Eric Dorssers, who tried to break up the irritated stallions. Finally however Lobeke with Jan Calis appeared on the arena.
It was not until the presentation of the stallions that the results of the Senior Mare Championships were announced. As we know, we couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome. After all, Emandoria had very serious rivals in the form of Jamilla Al Zobair (silver) and Ladi Veronika (bronze). The victory of Michałów’s graduate was not at all foregone and sealed, though the show’s highest score could’ve pointed to an advantage of Gazal Al Shaqab’s daughter. Still we know situations where the highest scored horse (which happened in the past to Emmona, for instance) did not receive any of the top three medals. During Emandoria’s decoration the victory of Poland in the All Nations Cup Trophy was also announced, which was a good move in terms of the show’s dramatic effect. In previous years when the result was announced at the very end the decoration of the victorious country often took place in front of empty tribunes. The joy of the Polish team was perhaps exhibited in a slightly calm manner – when compared to the spontaneous reaction of the Belgians last year. Perhaps it was the domination of one giant – Michałów State Stud – which was so overawing.
Finally the results of the Senior Stallion Championships were announced. Sadly, the Top Three did not include Girlan-Bey. Victorious, as expected, was Baanderos before QR Marc. The bronze was collected by MCA Magnum Gold.
And so another All Nations Cup has become history, writing down one more happy episode for Polish breeding. It brings a huge dose of optimism and large hopes for the future. One thing’s for sure – Arabians from Poland are still in the game!