Behind us are the 31st World Championships in Paris, celebrated less pompously than last year’s jubilee event. This year the huge emotions concerned Poland on a small scale, as during this edition our country moved to second row. This was especially evident during the decoration ceremony, where the medalists stand in the front line and the remaining finalists at the back. Poland was missing from the podium, missing from that front row, similar to many other European countries. The only ones to enjoy medals, apart from the Middle East, were the Spanish (a silver for Shanghai E.A.) and the Belgians (a silver for QR Marc). Others had to settle for the titles of Top Ten, which – although prestigious – don’t shine like gold, silver or even bronze. The Poles took home a total of 9 Top Ten titles won by Psyche Kreuza, Pinga, Emandoria, Etnologia, Emmona, El Dorada, Palatino, Kabsztad and Poganin.
Each show brings larger and smaller surprises – this year in Paris, to the disappointment of the public, the euphorically received in Aachen WH Justice was a no-show, whereas the Spanish Shanghai E.A., who took this season by storm, winning both in Aachen and Verona, lost the rivalry for the highest trophy. Without a doubt his face off with Kahil Al Shaqab, representing Qatar, was the most thrilling moment of the entire event. Shanghai E.A. gained large sympathy of the public, with his numerous followers creating a true frenzy at the 5b arena of the Parc des Expositions Paris Nord Villepinte, which was spontaneously joined by many guests. The reason for this was on one hand the beauty of the horse and on the other the fact that whenever a European breeder goes against the financial and marketing power of the
sheiks, the public in a natural way takes that breeder’s side. It has to be said that the Spanish proved that an Arabian horse show can be associated with true enthusiasm, genuine joy and amazing, positive energy. A friend of Equus Arabians, the producer of Princess Dhuoda cava (a sparkling wine named after a princess from the 9th century, a niece of Charlemagne, who wrote a book on manners and upbringing for teenagers, quoted until this day), dedicated a special edition of this noble beverage to Shanghai on occasion of the World Championships, with which he treated Equus’ guests backstage. This gesture was as selfless as passionate was the (unbribed) applause, totally deserved by Shanghai, whose conformation brought to mind a
porcelain figurine. But the jury decided that the gold would go to the posing like a granite statue Kahil Al Shaqab. When comparing horses, which represent the highest world quality, it is not easy to determine which deserves the victory. In this case two judges (Jay Constanti, Peter Gamlin) pointed to the “porcelain” Shanghai and the remaining six (Koenraad Detailleur, Sylvia Garde-Ehlert, Manfred Hain, Deirdre Hyde, Richard Pihlström and Francesco Santoro) to the “granite” Kahil. Whereas for the second time in his career Shanghai received the Trophée Espoir award for the most promising equine.
The second hero of this year’s Aachen show, WH Justice, was not shown in Paris, although he was entered for the event. His handler from the All Nations Cup, Frank Spoenle, this time led his rival, Marquis CAHR (shown at Aachen by Michael Byatt, who did not step out onto the arena in Paris), to victory. This unexpected change was a huge surprise for many spectators, but was surely very satisfying for the owners of Marquis CAHR (Al Khalediah Stables), as the stallion left Paris with the title of World Champion.
Last year we asked: if the “very European” soccer has undergone Middle Eastern domination, then why should it be different with the “very Arabian” Arabian horses? This year’s World Championships confirmed that tendency. It is very probable that in the next editions of the event the only ones fighting for medals will be Middle Eastern studs. Europe either has to start looking for a different way of promoting its horses or say goodbye to medal ambitions, moving aside to compete for the titles of Top Ten. The more so as with each year the VIP tables fill up with new owners from Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar or Saudi Arabia.
Cheerleaders in action, otherwise known as Friday
Each year in Paris we observe new ideas on how to cheer on horses by particular teams. For a while scarves were the new trend – also this time wearing a scarf with your “home” colors was good form. One could also hear the hated by European soccer fans vuvuzelas. However the most spectacular were the performances of cheerleaders whose job was to support the filly AJ Sawahi (Marwan Al Shaqab – Siberia SA/Nuzyr HCF) from Ajman Stud. The bay yearling performed for the first time in the A series of junior fillies (1–3 years old), as the last of the 10 competitors. Already then it was impossible not to notice the girls, who drew attention maybe even more than the equine contestant, who herself was beautiful enough… Later every
appearance of the filly was accompanied by the cheering and very colorful team. AJ Sawahi won her class with a large advantage over the remaining contestants (93,58). This included numerous “20s” – four for type and four for head and neck. Second place was taken by the Saudi-owned and US-bred Ghazalat Al Khalediah (PA Gazsi – Argentinna SS/Arius SS) with 92,5 points, including two “20s”, third – the Qatari Rose Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – QR Annah Ferrari /Enzo). The B series of the junior fillies was won by Shirin By Aisha (WH Justice – Aisha by Missouri/Kubinec), the latest Italian discovery of Athbah Stud. The gold medalist from Prague defeated eight rivals, gaining 93,2 points, including four “20s”. Among these rivals was also the Polish Psyche Kreuza (Ekstern – Pallas-Atena/Ecaho) from Chrcynno-
Palace, who competed in the World Championships already for the third time! With a final score of 91,8 points (including a “20” for movement), the charge of Alicja Poszepczyńska placed fifth and secured herself a place in the finals and a third title of Top Ten. The second and third place went, respectively, to the Italian Alma Al Tiglio (Ajman Moniscione – Amanda Al Tiglio/Shamilah Masai Mara), with a score of 92,8, including as many as eight “20s” and the Jordanian Almasa (Monarcos DD – Jawaahir/Hlayyil Ramadan) – 92,8, including four “20s” for movement.
Polish state studs usually don’t bring young horses to the World Championships, as the journey from Poland in December could prove to be too difficult for them. Besides, some three year olds are just finishing their season at the track, while two year olds are just beginning their racing training. And so it was only in the senior classes that we could see the pupils of the state studs. The A series of the 4 year old and above mares’ class saw three Polish contestants – Janów’s Cenoza (Ekstern – Celna/Alegro) and Sefora (Ekstern – Sawantka/Pepton), as well as Chaos Persefona (Poganin – Ceres/Ganges) from Chrcynno-Palace. Polish breeding was also represented by the Michałów-bred Padova (Galba – Palanga/Ekstern), currently presented under the banner of Al Shaqab Stud. And it was her who proved most successful, because as the fifth place holder with a score of 91,8 points she entered the finals and gained the title of Top Ten. Cenoza and Sefora received 91,5 and 91,3 respectively, placing 6th and 8th among 11 contestants. The graduate of Chrcynno-Palace Stud was ninth (91 points). Victorious in this
class was CR Jasmeenah (WH Justice – Fforget-Me-Not/Ffatal Attraction) of British breeding, owned by Alyassimya Farm of Sheikh Jassima bin Khalifa Al Thani from Qatar. The mare gained 93 points, including five “20s” for type and head and neck. Second came Maraysia (Marwan Al Shaqab – Aysia/Besson Carol), bred in the US and representing Saudi colors (92,5, including five “20s”). Third place was secured by the Israeli-bred Badawieh AA (Laheeb – Bahiha/Baahir), owned by Ajman Stud (92,3). The contestant from Ajman was also the recipient of the Best Egyptian Mare award.
The competition in the B series of the senior mares class promised to be extremely interesting, as it starred as many as six Polish mares! They did not disappoint Polish enthusiasts, taking places from second to seventh (among 12 contestants): Michałów’s El Dorada (Sanadik El Shaklan – Emigrantka/Eukaliptus), with a score of 93,5, including two „20s” for movement; Janów’s Pinga (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pilar/Fawor), with a score of 93,4, including a „20” for type and four “20s” for movement; her stablemate Etnologia (Gazal Al Shaqab – Etalanta/Europejczyk), evaluated at 93 points, including three “20s” for movement; Michałów’s highly decorated Emandoria (Gazal Al Shaqab – Emanda/Eukaliptus), with a score of 92,8, including two “20s”; another Michałów graduate, the doyen Emmona (Monogramm – Emilda/Pamir), who received 92,3 points, including three “20s” for movement; and one more matron from Michałów, Palmira (Monogramm – Palestra/Penitent), who was awarded with four
“20s” for movement. It must be noted that although the judges did not lavish the top marks from the very beginning, still such numerous “20s” for movement appeared only when the Polish mares ran onto the arena. An opinion can be often heard that in Paris horses “don’t move” – this however doesn’t apply to Polish horses. The winner of this class, Magora (Gazal Al Shaqab – Margotka/Algorytm), also wonderfully assessed for her movement (five “20s”), has a lot of Polish blood in her veins. The laureate of the award for highest scored mare of the show (93,8 points) was bred in Sweden (Blommeröd) and is owned by Al Khalediah Stables from Saudi Arabia.
Porcelain versus granite, otherwise known as Saturday
Twelve colts, aged from one to three years, were presented in the A series of the junior stallions’ class. The competition itself held little thrills – these were to later come together with two candidates for the highest laurels in the B series. The best in series A proved Van Gogh AM (Magnum Psyche – Ynazia HCF/AF On Giovani), bred in the US and owned by Al Mohamadia Stud from Saudi Arabia. Five “20s” for type and head and neck (92,2) determined his victory. Behind him placed the son of Emandoria and QR Marc, Emerald J (92,2), bred at Jadem Arabians and now owned by Al Jalawiyah Stud (Saudi Arabia). Third came M.M. Nevio (Lorenzo El Bri – Nautis El Perseus/Perseus El Jamaal) from the Austrian stud of Mario Matt (91,7). The competing in this class Białka-bred Peron (Esparto – Perolia/Gazal Al Shaqab) placed at the tenth spot (90,4).
And then it began. Both of the main rivals, the radiant with victories Shanghai E.A. (WH Justice – Salymah/Khidar), bred and owned by Equus Arabians from Spain and the intensively promoted prior to Paris Kahil Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Mishaahl/Mishaah) performed right one after the other. When Kahil’s marks were shown it was clear that the Spanish stallion had an extremely tough nut to crack, as in the hands of Giacomo Capacci Kahil received 94,6 points! This consisted of a full set of “20s” for type, four “20s” for head and neck and three “20s” for movement. When Shanghai E.A., led by Frank Spoenle, entered the arena, cheered on by the favorable public, it seemed like everything was still possible. He also received an entire set of “20s” for type, as well as four “20s” for head and neck! Up to that moment both horses were going head to head. However the marks for movement determined the victory of the Qatari stallion. Shanghai’s final score – 93,2 – gave him “just” second place. Third in this class, consisting of eight competitors, was Ibn Jameelat Al Khalediah (Moutaz Al Biwaybiya – Jameelat/BJ Thee Mustafa) from Saudi Arabia.
Kahil’s victory was something that definitely pleased Director Marek Trela (Janów Podlaski Stud). As it was announced in the ads prior to Paris, Kahil Al Shaqab will arrive to Janów Podlaski for the upcoming breeding season. As Shanghai E.A. will also be available in Poland (through frozen semen), the confrontation of the Polish progeny of these two young stars in two years’ time may be very interesting, although Kahil will be tested on a greater number of mares. After all, you don’t lease a stallion to have him idly stand in a stall.
Meanwhile in Paris the young colts were succeeded by the senior stallions. The A series (consisting of 12 rivals) saw a face-off of the US-bred Marquis CAHR (Marwan Al Shaqab – Rohara Magnifica/Echo Magnificoo) and the second of the most known sons of Marwan bred in the States, QR Marc (out of Sweet Dreams/Magic Dream). The imported to Europe QR Marc (Knocke Arabians, Belgium) had already contended for the title of World Champion before, that’s why his performance was accompanied by huge tension at the Belgian VIP tables. However once again he had to yield to his rival – this time the winner proved to be Marquis CAHR owned by Al Khalediah Stables, who in the hands of Frank Spoenle gained as much as 94,3 points, including eleven “20s”! The horse was showered with top marks for type, head and neck and movement. The highly assessed QR Marc (93,8, including a full set of “20s”
for type and six more for head and neck and movement) could not top that result. Third in class was Al Fakhir (Mahadin – Al Estrella/Essteem), bred and owned by Al Hambra Arabians (Austria), before Marajj (Marwan Al Shaqab – RGA Kouress/Kouvey Bey), who “broke loose” from handler Scott Allman, returned to the warm up ring and later gained 92,9 points. Further spots were taken by Polish contestants. Both gained the titles of Top Ten: fifth in class (92,3) Michałów’s Kabsztad (Poganin – Kwestura/Monogramm) and sixth, Janów’s Palatino (Pesal – Palmeta/Ecaho) – 91,7. In this class we also had the chance to see two more Polish bred stallions: Janów’s Alert (Piaff – Andaluzja/Sanadik El Shaklan) and the Białka-bred Celsjusz (Ekstern – Carina/Pesal), owned by Omar Mohamed from Egypt. They placed 9th and 11th, respectively, though Celsjusz could boast one “20” for movement. In the final class (8
contestants) the Polish team counted on a good performance by Janów’s Poganin (Laheeb – Pohulanka/Pepton). And they were not disappointed! Although without any top marks, he still managed to accumulate 92,5 points which gave him second place in class, behind LVA Maximus (Espano Estopa – Challon Salana/Camargue), owned by Athbah Stud and bred in Great Britain (92,58). Third came MA Shadow El Sher (El Sher-Mann – Calyenna El Jamaal/Ali Jamaal), Italian bred and owned by Dubai Stud – the only one in this group who was awarded the highest mark, for type (92,3).
Middle East on the podium, otherwise known as Sunday
The results of the finals, after their announcement, was not at all surprising. Still on Sunday morning at least several participants were counting on an unusual stroke of luck. The Spanish were hoping that similar to two years ago, when the jury’s verdict was turned around during the finals’ competition of Marwan Al Shaqab and Imperial Baarez, so this time Shanghai E.A. would beat Kahil Al Shaqab. The owners of QR Marc had similar hopes. But in the finals the judges confirmed their prior decisions. The only thing not yet decided were really just the bronze medals. The “golds” were awarded to: AJ Sawahi from Ajman, CR Jasmeenah from Qatar, Kahil Al Shaqab from Qatar and Marquis CAHR from Saudi Arabia. The “silvers” went to Ghazalat Al Khalediah from Saudi Arabia, her stablemate Magora, Shanghai E.A. from Spain and to QR Marc from Belgium. The bronze trophies were given out to Shirin By Aisha from Saudi Arabia, Badawieh AA from Ajman, Van Gogh AM from Saudi Arabia and Marajj from Sharjah. In the case of both of the “gold mares” the jury’s verdict was unanimous, in the case of the stallions the judges’ votes were divided between the main contenders.
As usual there were also special awards, among them for best movement (Magora), for the highest scored stallion (Kahil Al Shaqab), for the best sire (Marwan Al Shaqab) and for the best breeder (Al Shaqab Stud) – in the latter case the sponsor, Al Shaqab Stud, handed the award to himself.
This year’s Paris will be remembered first of all as a clash of two young, very promising stallions. The manager of Al Shaqab Stud, Mohammed Al Sulaiti, told polskiearaby.pl: “Gazal Al Shaqab did a great job in Poland. And Kahil is his grandson. I have learned that people in
Poland like Gazal Al Shaqab and like his line, and they are interested in breeding to Gazal Al Shaqab again. Kahil also represents Gazal, in a different way. So they can use him to their benefit. In our philosophy, our work is to support the Arabian horse worldwide. We want to offer what we have to the right people to improve the Arabian horse. We have seen that Kahil offspring is of a high quality. I am sure he will do really good in Poland.” Convinced about the world quality of Shanghai’s offspring is also his breeder and owner, Albert Sorroca, who used him last year on Polish mares in his herd, among others. He recalls the World Championships very emotionally. “It was a wonderful, extraordinary experience”, he tells polskiearaby.pl.
“Especially the sight of the people who experienced the performance of Shanghai just as strongly as though they were his owners! Emotions shared with a large group of favorable people are absolutely inimitable. We had an impression that in Paris we were making history, because no other horse ever had such a spontaneous, impulsive support of the entire public, beginning from the VIP sector, through the ticket stands, to the trainers and handlers, who chanted with others: Shanghai! Shanghai! To me the memory of those moments is priceless.”