Are the Arabian Races a fifth wheel to a coach?
Only about 200 Thoroughbred horses will be running at the Służewiec race track in Warsaw. Including Wrocław, from where only a couple outstanding Arabian horses travel to race in Warsaw just a few more than 300 representatives of this noble breed were entered into this year’s season. That’s why this year there can already be problems with the race line-up. The first trouble appeared during the first season day (19th of April) enrollment. The enrollment for the Skowronek Stakes (2000 m) was unsuccessful.
The Arabian horse races at the Służewiec track have a beautiful tradition but during the last years there was a clear decrease of its significance. During ‘The Arabian Day’ which is being celebrated in the first half of August, the track in Poland’s capital guests less international visitors than it used to on the turn of 20th and 21st century. The sheikhs from Dubai especially enjoyed the riding style of Tomasz Dul (who died in a car crash in February 2005) who worked and rode horses at UAE racing tracks for over four years. Since the Arabian Horse Day in Warsaw is celebrated on Friday, and not on Sunday, like before, the races lost their sponsors and, above all, the audience. The capital of Poland became just a stop for the breeders and buyers from the world to the main target of their journey – The Arabian Festival in Janów Podlaski.
The foreign ones triumphed
On the first day of the 2009 season two Arabian group races were held. Both were won by German Arabians Bont and Nasch, trained by Mieczysław Mełnicki. The second – attention please! – won freely by 18 lengths, carrying 64 kg.
On Sunday, 26th of April, in the Comet Stakes two German Arabians, trained by Mełnicki: last year’s unbeaten at the Służewiec race track Marvin El Samawi and a double Europa Cup winner Amor Amor (in 2006 and 2007) challenged an astonishing Austrian mare Waikiki, the progeny of the famous French sire Dormane.
Thanks to the larger than life media promotion and Saturday’s Horse Parade in the centre of Warsaw, long unseen crowds of people appeared on Sunday 26th of April at Służewiec.
In the opening ceremony also took part the rector of Służewiec St. Catherine parish, in which during the Second World War and the communism period the racing pre-war banner had been kept. Each participant of Arabian races (both horse and jockey) had been sprinkled with the sacred water. It should be noted that the representatives of the Catholic Church treat the horse racing sports with a great fondness. In 2001 the racing track had been visited by cardinal Józef Glemp who had personally decorated a victorious horse with a sash.
A little bit shaggy Amor Amor
The hit of the day was the fifth race (The Comet Stakes, 2000 m), in which Dormane’s progeny Waikiki (out of Ewera by Pepi) faced not only mares of the same age, but also the best senior horses, Marvin El Samawi (Marvan I – Iosra/Djelfor) and Amor Amor (Nougatin – Aurore/Proszek). The first one, unbeaten last year at Służewiec, seemed not to be beat this time as well. He had been full of energy before the race started, while Amor Amor, as one of the frequent guests evaluated, still had a bit of a shaggy coat. As it had been expected, Tecumseh (Dormane – Tijani/Chalef Ibn Madour), carrying the lightest weight (56 kg) had been leading strongly (34,6-33-34,6). He had been followed by Amor Amor. Marvin, who had been running in the lower group, had been carrying an overweight of one kilo (63). Waikiki had been carrying her age weight – 57 kilograms, as well as the other four-year-old Amadis (Aslan – Arabia/Borysław) – 59 kilograms. Amor Amor had been carrying 62 kilograms, while running in a higher group Elsana (Gafal – Elba/Gabryt) – 57 kilograms. As expected, the mare found herself in a group that was too strong for her. Since the beginning she has been running at a distance and she finished the race far beyond the stake.
The finish belonged to Waikiki, Marvin El Samawi arrived after her. Soon after the mentioned couple Amadis, Amor Amor and Tecumseh reached the wire. Surprisingly, the time of the last quarter (500 meters) was just 37’2 seconds, while the overall result 2’19,4 was 3 seconds worse than the track record, which has been set by New Man (Major – Njushaach/Santhos). Unfortunately, the record-holder over 2000 meters, is recovering from an injury, which he suffered in the end of the year. He will appear at the track in the end of August or in the beginning of September.
The Comet Stakes proved that Marvin El Samawi wasn’t invincible. Both the owner of Lutek centre, where Waikiki trains, Mr. Leszek Kowal and the mare’s breeder and owner, Mrs. Elizabeth Chat, were very satisfied with their ward’s performance, despite a small failure. However, another duel between Waikiki and Marvin could happen in August, during the Europa Cup. In the meantime the very promising mare will take part in races at international tracks.
Two triumphs of Arabians out of Służewiec
The two remaining Arabian races ended surprisingly. The first race of the day had been easily won (by 8 lengths) by the Michałów-bred Pustynny Zmrok (Eldon – Pustynna Tarcza/Pamir), ridden by Anton Turgaev, while there was a fight for the second spot between leading from the beginning Dębowa Polana (Eldon – Dębowa Góra/Laheeb) and running under the lightest weight (48 kilograms) Makat (Perlik – Manianka/Sansal). The stallion finally won the race by a neck. Pustynny Zmrok is already appointed for the Derby. The horse is being prepared in Lutek in Mazury by trainer Marek Nowakowski.
In the 8th race there was a surprise made by Antiloppe (Eldon – Ardenia/Murat-Nur) ridden by Cornelia Fraisl. The mare won the race unexpectedly easily, besting by 3,5 lengths the race’s favorite Setna Heli (Pepe le Mocco – Inschalla/Djamel) and by 6 lengths Adamara (Karat – Adamana/Batyskaf). Antiloppe, bred by Ryszard Szpar and being his property, is being trained in Strzegom by Michał Romanowski.