This year’s 32nd All Nations Cup in Aachen, one of the most prestigious and visually spectacular European shows, ended in full success for Poland. Both main awards, which are a result of all points gained in the classes and finals by Polish breeders and owners – The Lady Harmsworth Blunt Memorial Trophy (the All Nations Cup) and The Major T.W.I. Hedley Memorial Trophy (the Breeders Cup) – went to Poland. A huge joy and satisfaction for all that put great effort into maintaining the high quality of Polish Arabian horse breeding on the world arena. As well as for the supporters, which Polish Arabians have plenty of both in Poland and abroad.
This huge success resulted from 6 silver and bronze medals, a gold for Kwestura (presented under the banner of Ajman Stud), as well as three class victories and several places in the class’ top fives. Thanks to this year’s win Poland has taken the lead in the general classification – it has claimed the All Nations Cup as many as eight times, the most in history, and the Breeders Cup as many as five times.
The nature of the show
The event, very popular among breeders and the public, has its own particular character. Since last year the judges for each class are chosen by means of a draw. Six out of the ten invited officials walk out onto the arena. This year this group consisted of: Julie Bridges (UK), Deborah Cain (USA), Silvia Garde-Ehlert (Germany), Marie-Louise van Wyk (RSA), Nashaat Hegazy (Egypt), Luiz Eduardo Moreira Caio (Brasil), Cristian Moschini (Italy), Marco Pittaluga (Italy), Peter Pond (Australia) and Tamás Rombauer (Hungary). The huge diversity of the jury panel translated to, among others, unpredictable marks. There were moments when the marks for type fluctuated between 18 and 20, similarly with movement and other traits, which appeared as though each judge was looking at a different horse. On the other hand they tended to be unanimous in their decisions, but we will return to that in a moment.
The rules for the yearling competition are different in Aachen than for the other age categories. The year olds have their separate championships with four of the top horses from each class qualifying for the finals. And – what is most innovative – the yearlings did not have to qualify from lower-ranked events to be able to participate at the All Nations Cup.
A good beginning to a good end
For the Poles the All Nations Cup started out on the right foot – our horses definitely stood out. The A series of the yearling colts class was won by Michałów’s Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab – Mesalina/Ekstern, 93,25), before Lord El Shawan (FA El Shawan – Lady Serenada/Ekstern, 92,17) of Małgorzata and Józef Pietrzak. Victorious in the A series of the yearling fillies was Janów’s Ceranova (Kahil Al Shaqab – Cerinola/Ecaho, 91,92). In the B series of the same age class her stablemate Al Jazeera (Kahil Al Shaqab – Alhasa/Ganges) scooped up a full set of “20s” for movement, which allowed her to take second spot (92,67). Michałów’s Pustynia Kahila (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pustynna Malwa/Ekstern, 92,25) came in third. And so in the yearling finals we had five representatives, including four get by Kahil Al Shaqab.
Ceranova was bested by the Saudi Sultana AM (Maharani HDM – Dana Al Mohamadia/Ajman Moniscione, 92,00), bred and owned by Al Mohamadia Stud. Whereas Al Jazeera had to yield before AJ Sawari (Marwan Al Shaqab – Siberia SA/Nuzyr HCF) from Ajman (93,00). Al Jazeera’s stablemate Cedora (Kahil Al Shaqab – Cenoza/Ekstern) was sixth. Among the yearling colts we also saw a charge or Falborek, Garcia (Emarc – Gemellia/Piber), which placed fifth. In the 2 year old fillies a top five spot was secured by Janów’s Patria (Eden C – Palmeta/Ecaho) at fourth position.
The B series of the yearling colts was won by D Mshary (QR Marc – FT Shaella/Shael Dream Desert, 93,00) from Dubai, among the two year old fillies the first spot belonged to Penelope K.A. (QR Marc – Polonia/Ekstern, 93,50) from Knocke Arabians, the two year olds colts brought a victory to the Dubai representative, D Khattaf (Royal Colours – D Jowan/Marwan Al Shaqab, 92,42), whereas the best three year old filly turned out to be the German-bred Inspired Najla (Ajman Moniscione – Natalia/Narym, 92,83), which we saw not too long ago in Nowe Wrońska, at the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival (where she won her class) and who bested her grey stablemate from the same stud (Ajman Stud) and training center (Frank Spoenle), AJ Asyad (Marwan Al Shaqab – Aja Angelica/WH Justice, 92,75). That was a complete surprise, because AJ Asyad presented herself extremely well – milky-white, with a beautiful head and neck, correct build, she seemed the ideal of an Arabian horse. It will remain a secret of the judges as to why she was awarded with so few top marks (“only” five – two for type, two for head and neck, and one for movement). In that very same class we witnessed a lot of emotions and true “tears of joy” thanks to the third spot for Shamaliah (Stival – Al Shareefah/CH El Brillo) from Gestüt Emaj (Switzerland). Her presenter, Christine Schläpfer, was so overjoyed with the result (92,75, including three “20s” for movement) and high place in class, that she could not contain her emotions, which is rare among the “veteran” professionals.
Looking at the yearling classes you could come to a conclusion that sights such as five greys in one class will soon become a thing of the past… Among the youngest contenders there were just a few greys at Aachen. The bay coat color prevailed, followed by some chestnuts. This is definitely an influence of using the descendants of Gazal Al Shaqab, including his grandson Kahil Al Shaqab on a wide scale. In a few years we will see a whole row of grey horses only on photographs. Unless of course the trends will change again. And these change so often that nothing is certain.
Sensation of the day
The sensation of the day was the performance of the son of Shanghai E.A., bred by Equus Arabians (Spain), Excalibur E.A. (out of Essence of Marwan E.A/Marwan Al Shaqab), owned by Las Rosas Arabians (Uruguay). In the hands of Tom Schoukens he bewitched all six of the judges to such a degree that they gave him as many as 13 top marks (five “20s” for type, two “20s” for head and neck, six “20s” for movement), which gave a cosmic final score 95,33. Excalibur E.A. bested his rival, Sultan Al Zobara (Gazal Al Shaqab – Inra Al Shaqab/Wahaj Al Shaqab, 93 pts), bred and owned by Al Zobara Stud, who won his class in Menton in such a spectacular way. It is also worth mentioning that right behind these two contenders, at third spot, placed the Polish Psyche Keret (Khidar – Psyche Victoria/Ekstern) from Chrcynno-Palace Stud, with a high score of 92,25 (four “20s” for movement and one more for type). All three horses qualified for the finals (another novelty introduced last year), where – similarly to Paris – all had a shot at the gold medal.
The Sunday senior classes
On Sunday the senior classes were held, starting with the 4-6 year old mares. An excellent movement (three “20s”) was provided by Michałów’s Diara (Eryks – Diaspora/Ganges), who also received a “20” for type and head and neck, which gave her a final score of 92,75 and second place in class, behind the lovely Alma Al Tiglio (Ajman Moniscione – Amanda Al Tiglio/Shamilah Masai Mara). Owned by the Italian stud of the Buzzi family, the mare justly deserved as many as three highest marks for head and neck and one more for movement. She won the class with a score of 92,83. The class top five also consisted of (at fourth spot) Michałów’s Zigi Zana (QR Marc – Zagrobla/Monogramm, 92,08) and a charge of Chrcynno-Palace Stud, Echo Aurora (Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D – Echo Afrodyta/Piaff, 91,75). The next class of 7-10 year old mares was ruled by Janów’s Pepita (Ekstern – Pepesza/Eukaliptus), the reigning Polish National Champion (and Janów Podlaski 2014 Best in Show) and remaining in excellent form. A full set of “20s” for movement, five more for type and two for head and neck allowed her to win with 94,75! Psyche Victoria (Ekstern – Pallas-Atena/Ecaho) of Chrcynno-Palace also fared quite well, qualifying for the finals from third spot in class (92,83, including five “20s” for movement and an additional “20” for head and neck).
The 11 years and above mare class saw just 4 mares, among which 3 were born in Poland. To the music of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” (the musical setting the second day was much better than during the first) the double World Champion entered the arena – Kwestura (Monogramm – Kwesta/Pesennik), bred by Michałów Stud, owned by Ajman Stud. It’s a great shame that the broadcast provider focused more on the marks (not the highest) awarded to her predecessor than on Kwestura’s performance. And there was a lot to watch because Kwestura proved that she still remains peerless, which was supported by the deafening roar of the public. Her final score of 94,83 turned out to be the highest score awarded to a mare during the entire show. This included a full set of “20s” for type, for movement and five “20s” for head and neck. For body and topline she received from 18 to 19,5 which is a phenomenal result, especially for a mare her age (19 years). The award for the class win was collected by Sheikh Ammar, accompanied by a kindergarten of the youngest Arabian horse enthusiasts. Second placed Kwestura’s once-stablemate, Emira (Laheeb – Embra/Monogramm, 93,5, including two “20s” for type and three “20s” for movement) and behind her another Michałów star, Georgia (Monogramm – Gizela/Palas, 93,42, including two “20s” for type and four “20s” for movement).
The next class, 4-6 year old stallions, proved lucky for another Michałów representative, Equator (QR Marc – Ekliptyka/Ekstern), who won with a score of 94,17, including five “20s” for type, one for head and neck and four “20s” for movement. After the class competition ended Poland was leading in both of the trophy categories – now everything depended on the gained medals.
Michałów likes bronze (as well as silver and gold)
If not for the silver medal for Morion, we could say that Michałów has a particular liking for bronze. Bronze medals were handed to Director Jerzy Białobok for Pustynia Kahila, Emira and Equator. Boasting a bronze (for Lord El Shawan) is also the stud of Małgorzata and Józef Pietrzak, Minnesota Arabians, for whom the success at Aachen is the greatest international success in the stud’s history. A silver, beside Morion, was also gained by Janów’s Pepita. And the gold went to the Michałów-bred Kwestura.
But one step at a time. The finals of the yearling fillies saw seven bays and one chestnut. On the podium, beside the bronze Pustynia Kahila, stood: gold medalist AJ Sawari for Ajman and the silver medalist Sultana A.M. from Saudi Arabia. Among the yearling colts there was only one grey and it was him that took the gold – D Mshari. Morion, as mentioned above, claimed the silver and Lord El Shawan – the bronze.
Among the junior mares and stallion we didn’t see any Polish representatives on the podium and there were also few surprises. The junior champion title went to the horse with the show’s highest score, Excalibur E.A. His main rival Sultan Al Zobara did not compete in the finals. The silver was awarded to RP Burj Al Arab (WH Justice – Pamira Bint Psytadel/Psytadel), owned by Liezl Els from RSA and Johanna Ullström, whereas the bronze brought joy to D Khattaf from Dubai. His stablemate D Shahla (Marajj – FT Shaella/Shael Dream Desert), second in the 2 year old fillies class, claimed the junior mares gold, Penelope KA – the silver and AJ Asyad – the bronze.
Polish horses reminded about themselves again during the senior championships. The mare finals were perhaps the most difficult to judge. The jury faced a highly selected group of mares of utmost quality, out of which every single one could become the champion. Although Kwestura’s position seemed unthreatened, the silver and bronze spots remained a mystery. Luckily for Poland these went to Pepita and Emira.
The senior stallions championship was held to the perfectly suited music of Ennio Morricone from Spaghetti Western movies of Sergio Leone. Quite aptly, considering that the event took place on a border, though this time a German-Belgian one. The third spot went to Equator, the silver to the Friedmann’s Al Lahab (Laheeb – The Vision HG/Thee Desperado, second in the 11 years old and above class, 93,08, including five “20s” for type and three for head and neck) and the gold to Eden C (Enzo – Silken Sable/Genesis C), purchased last year by Al Sayed Stud from Saudi Arabia. His handler, Glenn Shoukens, jumped with joy, though he could’ve predicted that verdict. Just moments before Eden C won the class of 7-10 year old stallions “dancing” (five “20s” for movement!) to Michael Jackson’s “Beat it”. Five “20s” for type and five for head and neck gave him a beautiful final score of 94,58 and made him a certain candidate for the gold medal.
The event was accompanied by additional attractions, such as the very numerous junior orchestra from the Kissingen health resort or the Handlers Cup, bearing a long tradition since 1991, which is pure fun for the public, allowing them to choose their favorite from among three beginners entered for this competition. This was initiated by Jan Calis, who also funds the awards – personalized
jackets. This time there will be two jackets, because the same intensity of applause was given for Michelle Lyall from the UK and Jan Lemmens from Belgium.
If we were to sum up this year’s All Nations Cup, we could say that despite the presence of 103 horses from the best world studs, Poland once again proved that it is our country that sets the tone and creates trends. Let’s hope this remains true for many years to come.
You will find the results here: