This is the first time that we are presenting a post-season summary of the Arabian competition on Polish tracks (mainly at Służewiec) in the form of horse, breeder, owner, trainer and event rankings. We must note that the final sport and financial results were significantly influenced by changes in the system for holding races for three year olds – the maintaining of a large number of “Arabian type” races (30) and the introduction of an additional 18 races for horses registered in the Polish Arabian Stud Book (PASB). The aim of these changes was to support domestic breeding and those that benefitted were the State Stud in Janów Podlaski (focused mainly on Arabian beauty, carrying out a racing training on the stud’s premises for several years now) and to a lesser degree the second and last State Stud that still sends horses to the track in Warsaw and Wrocław – Michałów. The owners of foreign Arabians were at a loss, because there were only 28 open races for three year olds. However it must be said that all stake races for this age category: the Europejczyk, Koheilan I, Białka, Amurath, PAHBA, Sambor, Bask and Czort St. were open. Arabian-type races were only held in groups II and I (six of the latter were held), similarly with races for horses registered in the PASB (three group I races).
In the competition for 4 year olds and above (78 races) traditionally closed (since 1991) were the following stakes: Janów Podlaski, Derby and Oaks and furthermore only four Arabian-type group races, which appear to be pointless due to a lack of continuity. Horses that in 2016 raced among Arabian-type company at the age of three, at the age of four had to compete in open races (apart from the four mentioned exceptions).
It is the horse that makes a man big or small
Such racing wisdom was often said during various occasions by Stanisław Sałagaj (died in January of 2013), first a great jockey and later an outstanding trainer. It means, no more and no less, that sometimes one outstanding horse can alone give someone fame and fortune. On a side note we should add that Stanisław Sałagaj scored success mainly with Thoroughbreds (he was chosen Trainer of the Year six times, after the successes of Omen, Dietmar and Upsala), but someone decided to remember him through a Memorial which is a group I race for Arabians, though his largest triumph in this field was the victory of Złoty Potok in the first Europa Cup (1985).
In line with Sałagaj’s wisdom the ranking of Arabian horses after the 2017 season has to begin with two racing superstars (considering Polish conditions), that can be compared to the best horses of the past 20 years: Druid, Wienerva, Gorec, Orgia Fata and Marvin El Samawi. The first is the 4 year old Polish-bred Shannon Queen (Ainhoa St Faust – Sasanka Fata/Sam Tiki) and the 3 year old colt Fazza Al Khalediah (Jalnar Al Khalidiah – Asma Al Khalediah/Amer). They brought their breeders recognition and their owners and trainers – large amounts of money, which we write about below.
The “Queen” this year won six stakes in a row (Kabaret, Janów Podlaski, Derby, Europa Cup, Oaks and Michałów St.), matching the record of 12 victories in a row belonging to the Thoroughbred Va Bank. Unfortunately, similarly as for him (he lost in his 13th start to Caccini), her 13th start (Criterium Stakes) was unsuccessful. On a difficult going (6,0) she lost not only to the outstanding three year old Fazza Al Khalediah, but also to Burkan Al Khalediah and Bandolero and finished the race at fourth spot, in a dead heat with Shahad Athbah. If she would not have competed in this race then her first position in our ranking would not have been questioned. However this defeat made us place her at first spot together with Fazza, as placing him at first spot alone seems premature, despite the fact that he outdid the best older horses in an impressive style, with a never seen before in this race advantage of 17 lengths!
Fazza has a marvelous racing pedigree, he is a grandson of top quality racing stallions (Tiwaiq on the spear side, Amer on the distaff side). Just like Shannon at the age of three he ended the season as undefeated in six starts. After winning group races in Wrocław, he triumphed at Służewiec in the Europejczyk St. (B cat.), Białka St. (A), Sambor St. (A) and Criterium St. (A). However there was one important difference. He won all races easily or surely, while she as a three year old won the Białka Stakes with difficulty and the Criterium Stakes after a fierce fight. At the age of four she won easily among her peers, but when she raced against older horses she had to put in some effort to outdo Shahad Athbah in the Europa Cup, while in her next performance (Michałów St.) she was better than her rival only by a head after a fight. Already this race should have given the owners and trainer food for thought that she shouldn’t be exposed to the risk of such a grand defeat. But the sport spirit took the upper hand. The vision of setting a record of 13 victories in a row was tempting. Prior to the Criterium Stakes the undefeated among his peers Fazza did not seem as dangerous as some perceived him to be. How that ended, we already wrote above.
According to their trainers both of these great racing Arabians are being prepared for the 2018 racing season, but of course if buyers appear and offer appropriate sums then the owners may change their minds and sell them with no scruples. From our point of view it would be better if they competed this year at Służewiec, because duels of such equine stars, properly promoted, are a magnet that draws the public to the race track.
From third to fifth spot in our ranking we find: the 8 year old Saudi gelding Burkan Al Khalediah (Khalid El Biwaibiya – Rayyan/Bengali d’Albret), the 5 year old British mare Shahad Athbah (Amer – Kolver/Vert Olive) and the 4 year old Polish Bandolero (Portmer – Botura/Samsheik). Their achievements were similar, proof of which are also their financial results, 68,550, 69,600 and 57,770 respectively. Burkan won two A category races (Ofir and Pierrot St.) and was second in the Criterium St., Shahad won the Kurozwęki St. (B cat.) and was second three times – in the Europa Cup (A), Wielki Szlem (B) and Michałów St. (A). In the first and third mentioned races she strongly pressed Shannon Queen, yielding to her after a fight by 1,25 lengths and by a head, until she finally got her rival in the Criterium St., placing dead-heat with her across the wire. Bandolero, after an unexpected weaker performance in the Janów Podlaski St. (4th place) tried to surprise Shannon in the Derby, but she bested him surely by three lengths. Unexpectedly, this courageous Janów-bred colt was victorious in the Wielki Szlem St. (B), where he took over his stablemate Shahad Athbah by 1,5 lengths. He confirmed his high quality by placing third in the Criterium St.
At sixth place in our ranking we find the 6 year old French stallion SS Mothill (Nizam – Boundless/Calin du Loup), winner of the fourth edition of the Al Kalediah Poland Cup (A). This killer race had a speed rate of 32,8 s over the first quarter and the last 500 m was covered by the winner in… 42,2 s!
Places seventh and eighth go to 3 year old fillies, the French Nesma Al Mels (Akbar – Jelifa Al Mels/Regal de Khan), who won the PAHBA St. (B) and was second behind Fazza Al Khalediah in the Sambor St. (A) and the Polish Almiza (Munjiz – Almina/Furiat), winner of three races in a row, including the Bask St. (B).
Our equine ranking closes off with 4 year old mares: the fourth in the Derby and second in the Oaks Arwa (Munjiz – Amina/Murat-Gazon) and the third behind her in this race by a head Twilight (Murhib – Tajmonia/Madiar). Furthermore both won three group races each.
A special mention among the older horses must go to: the Polish Mogadiusz (Echo Ofira – Mukata Fata/KA Czubuthan), second in the Ofir and Pierrot St., third in the Figaro and Europa Cup, a head behind Shahad Athbah, the French Hanouh (Munjiz – Hafia de Faust/Tidjani), winner of the Figaro St., third in the Al Khalediah Poland Cup and Wielki Szlem St. and the French Salman Al Khalediah (Dormane – Jaleelat Al Khalidiah/Tiwaiq), second in the Kurozwęki and Figaro St. Among the three year olds it is worth mentioning the Dutch MonMurhib Kossack (Murhib – Maringa/Niumarket), winner of the Koheilan I St. and two group races and the Polish Sweet Dream (Murhib – Soleil Kossack/Marwan I), winner of the Czort St.
Without Alladyn and Shadwan Al Khalediah
The above ranking lacks two horses that began the season as stars, but were withdrawn due to injury: the 6 year old Alladyn (Von – Alba Longa/Ostragon) and the 5 year old Shadwan Al Khalediah (Nashwan Al Khalediah – Quesche du Paon/Akbar). Alladyn, after an unexpected poor first performance (Pamir St., where he came second to last), raced better in the Ofir St., but was only third, behind Burkan Al Khalediah and Mogadiusz. In mid-July the Derby winner from 2015 sustained a ligament injury in the walking machine. This injury did not eliminate him completely from racing, but requires a lot of time to heal. So his owners sent him to his home stud in Lutek in the Mazury region so that he could rest and undergo treatments. He is to return to Służewiec in the Spring.
Shadwan, after winning the Pamir St. in great style by 7 lengths in 2’31,8″ (17,2-35-33,6-32,6-33,4) on elastic going (3,4), worse only by 0,8 s from the oldest Służewiec record set by the 5 year old Alabaster in… 1951, was being prepared for a race in France in the second part of June. However he sustained an injury which luckily is not as dangerous as initially deemed. The horse returned to the track in the Autumn and there is hope that he will spread his wings in the coming season.
„Czorty” and Janów lead the breeders’ ranking
The owners of the private „Czorty” Stud in Dąbrowa near Nasielsk, Magdalena and Daniel Gromala, are living off of the successes of Shannon Queen already for a second season. Apart from her the best financial result among breeders (403,050 PLN) was also forged by Twilight – who was first in the II and I group (Sarmacja Prize), second in the Orla Prize (I group), PAHBA St. (B) and Sasanka St. (B); Sweet Dream – three wins, including the Batyskaf St. (group I) and Czort St. (B cat.), as well as Gusa (Murhib – Gusmania/Status), who raced just twice (first in the Comet St., fourth in the Sabellina St.). Furthermore two group races were won by the 4 year old Minastirit (Nougatin – Modessa II/Mohafez) and one race was won by the 3 year old Super Star. This mare and Sweet Dream were sold at the age of two to Tomasz Ruciński. Mr. and Mrs. Gromala kept for themselves two 3 year olds, out of which Myk Myk (NivourGonnaTouchThis – Maciejka/El Bak) turned out to be weak (10th, 4th, 8th place) and Game Ower (Nougatin Kossack – Gusmania/Status) was not entered in any race.
Arabians from Czorty Stud won 18 races, eight times placed second and nine times placed third in 58 starts. In this respect the best was Janów Podlaski: 28-22-24 in 172 starts, which however earned less – 377,790 PLN.
Among horses bred at Janów it was the three year olds that most contributed to the financial result: three wins from Adelita (Kahil Al Shaqab – Altamira/Ekstern), two from Parsek (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pętla/Visbaden), Pio (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pia/Ganges) and Prospero (Kahil Al Shaqab – Perespa/Enzo). The mentioned horses began in Arabian-type races, but later also raced in open races or PASB-type races. Out of the remaining 19 wins only two were provided by 4 year olds: the afore mentioned Bandolero (Wielki Szlem St.) and the Arabian-type Elader (Kahil Al Shaqab – Elima/Eukaliptus). The rest of the wins came from 3 year olds, mostly of the Arabian-type.
The third place in the breeders’ ranking goes to Zbigniew Górski, owner of the stud in Skuły near Warsaw. His Arabians won 11 races, placed second 15 times and third 12 times in 78 starts, which gave a fairly large financial result of 174,860 PLN. Suffice to say that the fourth in this ranking Michałów Stud ended the season with similar results: 11-21-12, but in 250 starts and ended with just a slightly higher outcome: 182,740.
Górski’s best horses were the already mentioned Arwa and Almiza, which won three races each. The one that stood out among Michałów’s group was the 3 year old Echa Wadi (Wadi Nur – Echara/Wiliam), winner of two races.
A strong entrance of Polska AKF (Al Khalediah Stud Poland)
The first place in the owners’ ranking goes to Polska AKF, mainly for placing their foreign bred horses with very good pedigrees, the majority French, in several stables: at Służewiec in the stable of the debuting as trainer Maciej Kacprzyk, in Wrocław with Michał Borkowski, Robert Świątek and Wiesław Kryszyłowicz, and Bartosz Głowacki in Nowa Mała Wieś near Leoncin. The best horse was hands down the above mentioned charge of Michał Borkowski, Fazza Al Khalediah and the second best – Burkan Al Khalediah trained by Maciej Kacprzyk. Furthermore three races (including the Amurath St.) were won by the trained in Wrocław by Robert Świątek 3 year old Saudi Al Khalediah (Jalnar Al Khalidiah – Quesche du Paon/Akbar), while the charge of Wiesław Kryszyłowicz, Rammas Al Khalidiah (Jalnar Al Khalediah – Spleen/Njewman) won twice (both colts are the grandsons of Tiwaiq on the spear side). One victory each was also scored by: the 5 year old Sindjar Al Khalediah (Dormane – Jaleelat Al Khalidiah/Tiwaiq) and 3 year olds Monther Al Khalidiah (Naeyf Al Khalidiah – Rajwa Al Khalidiah/Tiwaiq) and Shelblat Al Khalediah (Nayef Al Khalidiah – Mayasah/Khalid El Biwaibiya). Altogether the AKF horses won 354,020 PLN.
This time Janów Podlaski stands at second place, though its financial result in this ranking is impressive – 491,940 PLN, visibly larger also from the best owner of Thoroughbreds, Plavac Ltd. – 365,550. This was determined not only by the large number of victories of Arabian-type horses, but mostly by very good financial results of Bandolero and the foreign horses, Shahad Athbah and SS Mothill. Others that contributed to this result were 3 year olds registered in the PASB with interesting racing pedigrees: Severina (Portmer – Salsa/Wojsław), Severus (Portmer – Sabatina/Ganges) and Brasilia (Portmer – Botura/Samsheik), which won one race each.
On the podium again at third place we find Zbigniew Górski (175,740 PLN), at fourth place – Magdalena Gromala and Katarzyna Kozłowska (318,340 PLN), at fifth – Krzysztof Goździalski (70,140). Among the horses of Górski the most money was earned by the afore mentioned Almiza and Arwa, which won three races each. The earnings of the two associates, the wives of the Czorty Stud owner and trainer Janusz Kozłowski came mostly from Shannon Queen, who alone made 238,500 PLN. Out of Krzysztof Goździalski’s horses the best was the 4 year old Hanouh, winner of the Figaro St. (B), group II handicap, third in the Al Khalediah Poland Cup and in the Wielki Szlem St.
The unusual debut of trainer Sergey Vasyutov
Although more valuable results were obtained by trainers Janusz Kozłowski (Shannon Queen, Gusa, Twilight) and Michał Borkowski (Fazza Al Khaldiah), the training debut of jockey Sergey Vasyutov must be treated just as high. At the beginning of the season he took over Bogdan Strójwąs’ stable in Janów Podlaski. With 29 wins he placed 7th in the overall ranking of trainers (Thoroughbreds and Arabians). He himself rode most of his horses, out of which the best were Shahad Athbah, Bandolero and SS Mothill.
Good results of Arabians, mostly the “AKFs”: Burkan, Salman and Shadwan had an impact on the successful training debut of Maciej Kacprzyk.
The Trainer of the Year, Adam Wyrzyk, apart from very good Thoroughbred results also had numerous achievements in the Arabian competition. The 4 year old Wielka Dalena (Via Verdi Kossack – Wielka Dama/El Amor) caused a huge surprise, besting Arwa and Twilight in the Sabellina St., while Nesma Al Mels won the PAHBA St. A special mention must also go to Małgorzata Łojek for the results of Almiza and Sweet Dream.
Fazza’s knockout the event of the year
As the event of the year we chose the described above victory of Fazza Al Khalediah in the Criterium St. Trainer Borkowski said after the race that he expected his horse to win, but was also surprised with the style and scope of the victory.
Unfortunately much less significance than in previous seasons had the main race of the Arabian Horse Day: the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan – Europa Cup G3 PA (A cat.), which for the first time since 2010 was held only among domestic competition. The trained in France 5 year old Metrag (Amer – Massamarie/Tidjani), representing one of the most richest and most recognized stables in the world – Al Shaqab Racing – ultimately did not arrive. Rumors about the 5 year old grey, who on June 4th won the Sheikh Cup in Rome (in good time 2’45,2 over 2400 m) not competing circulated already on Saturday. As a result he was awaited like Godot. He was not officially withdrawn on Saturday or Sunday before noon. Bets on him stopped being accepted just half an hour prior to the race, when he did not show up at the paddock in regular time.