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Intimate GCAT on Côte d’Azur

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Intimate GCAT on Côte d’Azur

E.S. Harir – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda
E.S. Harir – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda

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Anyone who expected a staggering number of horses could have been disappointed. The French stop of the Global Champions Arabian Tour on the French Riviera was indeed grand, but on a more European scale. But then again… is it bad? Not really. It’s a pity that more horses that we haven’t seen before were not presented in Cannes. Because the rankings have become a bit set in stone.

Before we talk about the horses, let’s focus on the show itself. From the very beginning, the organizers of the Global Champions Arabians Tour promised spectacular experiences on each show of the series. This time they did not disappoint either and provided spectacular attractions, starting with a military brass band in historic French dragoon uniforms of the Napoleonic era (accompanied by screeching seagulls) and ending with a touching performance of “La Vie en Rose” by Édith Piaf. Of course, the part of Boulevard La Croisette closest to the show was dominated by art, cuisine and handicrafts, although less impressively than on the Arabian Peninsula.

Prizes awarded at the GCAT – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda
Prizes awarded at the GCAT – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda

Although there were many more horses entered in the azure section of the GCAT, ultimately the judges saw only 56, but from 13 countries. At the last Arabian stage of this year’s cycle, there were 97 equines from seven countries around the world, and already then one could get the impression that the cycle was shrinking a bit. Compared to the show in Abu Dhabi, it was a positive difference – unfortunately, a show where almost each class has a dozen or so horses and practically every age category is divided into at least A and B is simply tiring after a while. In the aforementioned Abu Dhabi, there were even classes with 17 and 19 horses, and the show lasted for 4 days. An event for the most persistent… So, answering the question posed at the very beginning “is it bad that there were fewer horses?”, I would lean towards “not at all”. It is a pity, however, that most of the registered Polish horses did not come to the Hesperides Stadium.

List of attendance

We are undoubtedly accustomed to the presence of at least Polish-bred, if not owned, Arabian horses at European shows. A glance at the catalog and there was hope that we would support the six bred in Poland. Every one in ten horses is a “Polish horse”. Meanwhile, it turned out that Adyga (Kahil Al Shaqab – Amiga / Piaff) and Calateon (Vitorio TO – Calatea / Ekstern) were missing. Bred by Janów Podlaski Stud and by Marek Kondrasiuk, respectively, and currently owned by the Dutch C&S Arabians, i.e. Chantal and Sebastiaan Volker, we had the pleasure of seeing them in Deurne. Pireno (Shanghai EA – Pirana K.A. / QR Marc), bred by Paweł Redestowicz and owned by the Saudi Zaan Stud, can also be considered a great absentee. The young Ederrada (Zeus EA – Epogra / Pogrom) bred by Adam Bączyk, purchased by Irina Stigler, also did not appear on French soil. So who represented the red and white team?

Emarella in the senior mares class – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda
Emarella in the senior mares class – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda

Both show goers and those closely following the struggles of purebred horses at shows in Poland and abroad had no problems with identifying horses whose potential successes are partly attributable to Poland. Emarella (Sahm El Arab – Emandorella / Eden C) has previously competed at GCAT, winning a bronze medal in Abu Dhabi and a silver medal in Muscat, so we expected her presence. What was new was the start of the three-year-old stallion Nisser Babel (Sinharib Babel – AJ Nasheeda / AJ Portofino). How did they fare?

Nisser Babel at the Sopot Arabian Horse Show in 2022 – phot. Ricard Cunill
Nisser Babel at the Sopot Arabian Horse Show in 2022 – phot. Ricard Cunill

A shower of „20s”

Emarella’s high result in the class – almost 92 points – did not mean that she had a guaranteed medal place in the Senior Mare Championships. Judges have recently been sparing in awarding high marks, and yet in both classes of senior mares there were “20s” for type, head and neck and movement. But on the second day of the show, this phenomenal grey mare, who was born 6 years ago in Michałów, did not come to the championships at all. Despite two previous medals, her current owners Aljassimya Farm decided that she would stay in the stable during the final showdown… It’s hard to say what she thought about it, but her fans certainly felt disappointed. Even if her Saturday performance in the Mediterranean breeze was not the best of her career, she still received high marks from the judges, including for type. But it’s not for us to judge.

Emarella bares the Mediterreanean breeze – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda
Emarella bares the Mediterreanean breeze – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda

In turn, the bay Nisser Babel, bred by Wieża Babel and now operating under the Hamie Hamie Stud flag, although finishing his junior stallion class with a score of over 90 points, took last place in the class, winning only against his absent sixth colleague. So he didn’t make it to the championship, but in his case it was obvious that it wasn’t his day. He neither wanted to show himself in motion nor thought of cooperating with the presenter in this more static part of the presentation. The last place in the class was not surprising, but it left us unsatisfied, because his performances last year in Białka and Prague, or two years ago in Sopot and also Prague, were so much better that he won medals – gold and bronze; the silver still ahead of him…

End of year show evaluation

I will quote myself from before the Cannes show. “We have the first of three European stops of GCAT ahead of us, before the series returns to the Arabian Peninsula to Riyadh. The stages in Cannes, the Dutch Valkenswaard and Rome could cause a stir. But will this happen? We will find out the answer to this question soon…”

Did they make a stir? Not really, so the changes to the rankings are mostly cosmetic. Despite the “boycott” of the championships, Emarella only dropped from 9th to 10th position in the “girls’” ranking, and Wildona (Shanghai EA – Wilda / Gazal Al Shaqab) was completely absent from 12th to 17th. The top of this ranking did not move an inch despite medals in the championships for some new horses. Therefore, in the female ranking, the undefeated AJ Kayya (AJ Kafu – AJA Caprice / EKS Alihandro) from Ajman Stud remains in first place – 80 points. The second place from the very beginning belongs to D Nafayes (D Seraj – D Danat / SG Labib), bred and owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud – 77 points, and the third place was taken by D Najlah (D Seraj – Elle Flamenca / Ajman Moniscione), also with Dubai Arabian Horse Stud – 71 points.

AJ Kayya – leader of the mare ranking – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda
AJ Kayya – leader of the mare ranking – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda

The situation is more dynamic with the gentlemen. The snow-white E.S. Harir (AJ Dinar – TF Magnums Magic / Magnum Psyche), who has an excellent streak and became the gold medalist of the Senior Stallion Championships almost unanimously, made it to the top three. Magnum’s grandson, winning his second gold, took third place in the male ranking, with the first two still belonging to D Borkan (FA El Rasheem – D Ajayeb / RFI Farid) and D Shakhar (D Shakhat – D Shamkah / FA El Rasheem). It is worth mentioning, as the letter D at the beginning of their names suggests, that these are horses from Dubai Arabian Horse Stud.

D Borkan and Paolo Capecci, leaders in the stallion and handler rankings – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda
D Borkan and Paolo Capecci, leaders in the stallion and handler rankings – phot. Ewa Imielska-Hebda

What about the presenters? At the top of the third ranking conducted by the Global Champions Arabians Tour are invariably three gentlemen well known to Polish Arabian horse lovers, always smiling. Moreover, they increase their advantage over the competition. After four GCAT stages, Raphael Curti is in the lowest place on the podium with 193 points (plus 60 points), Glenn Schoukens is in second place with 207 points (plus 52 points), and Paolo Capecci is in the lead with 219 points (plus 51 points).

Vacation

The July stop of GCAT in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is ahead of us. On the weekend of July 20-21 this year Arabian horses will conquer North Brabant, on the outskirts of the quiet town of Valkenswaard, right on the Belgian border. It comes to life only during horse and motorcycle events, and apart from that, life goes on lazily there. In this former capital of falconry we will see Polish horses for sure. At EuroZone in Deurne in May this year, several horses received vouchers for this event and their owners decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Moreover, vouchers will also be awarded in Tarnów for the All-Polish Arabian Horse Championship and there will be as many as 30 of them for the first two places in the halter classes, excluding geldings and the amateur class. Especially for Polish breeders, the organizers will open registration for one day only on Monday, July 1st. Let’s hope they take advantage of it – tickets worth €1,000 including boxing? It’s a sin not to take advantage!

Voucher for the GCAT Valkenswaard – phot. PZHKA
Voucher for the GCAT Valkenswaard – phot. PZHKA

But let’s go back to the question “how will the change of continent affect the rankings?” which I asked two weeks ago. After Muscat I assumed an earthquake. The closer to the Mediterranean stage, the more I had the impression that there would be a collapse. For now, we have minimal corrections. What will the remaining two European stages, Brabant and Italian, bring? I still claim that horse judgments are unexamined, although now I think that this probably does not apply to horses or presenters at the top of the rankings, but to further places. We will see.

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