The saying that something runs like clockwork – of the Swiss kind in mind – cannot be more visible than in Aachen. Here the precision is similar and one of the exhibitors even represented the Swiss time-measuring industry (Hanaya Arabians). The 30th anniversary edition of the All Nations Cup as always electrified everyone from the “Arabian” line of business, both those present and those cheering on from afar.
Day one: juniors to the start line
Several horses appeared in flesh and blood in Europe for the first time; they were known earlier only from press and internet publications. Among this group was a grey daughter of Ajman Moniscione and Eagleridge Passionata – the Saudi Noft Al Nayfat. She drew attention already in Las Vegas with her delicate features and gracefulness. In Aachen she won the first yearling fillies series gaining 91,9 points (the judges were just warming up…). While at it she bested another Ajman Moniscione daughter – Inspired Najla. Third in that class was the Polish El Siena (out of El Aria/Ararat) from Strusinianka, the only daughter of HDB Sihr Ibn Massai in the show. Her regular form throughout the entire year is really impressive! With successful performances at the Junior Spring Show in Białka, the Polish Nationals in Janów Podlaski and now in Aachen.
Victorious in the next yearling series was the favorite, AJ Asyad, one of the signature “chocolates” in the candy box created in Ajman. Gracefulness, subtleness, quality – a unique combination of the blood of Marwan Al Shaqab with a WH Justice daughter, Aja Angelika. This filly was the first one to surpass the 92 point mark (receiving 92,2), which – especially at the end of Saturday’s competition – became the show’s new standard. The Polish Perfinka (Esparto – Perfirka/Gazal Al Shaqab) from Białka just missed qualifying for the finals by a nose. Higher marks were awarded to the Saudi Tahani Al Khaled by MCA Magnum Gold.
The Polish fillies were more successful in the A series of the 2 year olds class. The victory of Wieża Mocy (QR Marc – Wieża Marzeń/Ekstern) over the much more decorated Ghazalat Al Khalidiah, besides giving great satisfaction to Michałów State Stud, also has a huge promotional significance, as the recognizability of the both mares abroad cannot even be compared. For instance, the most famous daughter of PA Gazsi won the A-ranked show in Towerlands several weeks ago.
Triumphant in the B series of the same age category was another beauty from the collection of the Prince of Ajman – AJ Siyadah (by Vervaldee), with a score that sky rocketed over 93 points (93,3). Excellently presented and very consistently shown at various events, the Danish filly Ul Sid Parma (by El Sid) fell short to the winner by 0,3 points, whereas the third contestant, Michałów’s Emandilla (Om El Shahmaan – Espadrilla/Monogramm), by 0,4 points. Echo Aurora (Eternity Ibn Navarrone-D – Echo Afrodyta/Piaff) from Chrcynno-Palace Stud, who received bizarre marks from the Australian judge at the Polish Nationals, was finally evaluated according to her quality and placed fourth in this difficult class (91,5).
The Janów Podlaski team had reasons to celebrate in the three year old fillies’ class, as the stud’s pride and joy of the several past seasons – Primera (Eden C – Preria/Ararat) – won her class, unexpectedly besting Shirin By Aisza (by WH Justice) from Athbah Stud. A pleasant picture was the presenting of the award to Janów breeders by Shirley Watts, a collector of horses from that very stud and owner of Preria, the winner’s dam. A little less lucky were the current owners of Piacenza (QR Marc – Primawera/Emigrant) – Al Shahania Stud. The auction price of Piacenza (475 thousand euro) is probably a multiple of what was paid for Shirin by Aisza or Irinah by Shael Dream Desert (this filly, by the way, is one of the more successful imports from Brazil). But it was them that managed to get into the class Top Five. A nice surprise was delivered to Polish spectators courtesy of Camilia (Piaff – Calineczka/Metropolis NA) from Białka, better known to the judges (for now) than the anonymous Shael daughter. With good movement and a very decent condition she placed fourth with a cosmic (for her) score of 92,3 points (at a title show!).
The competition between the junior stallions did not bring as many thrills as the fillies’ classes. The yearlings surprised with few entries (five in the first series, four in the next) and, sadly, little quality. There were times when the standard was higher at a C-ranked show. Victorious in these classes were: in the A series one of the latest purchases of Athbah Stud – Ascot DD by Glorius Apal (before Design For Life, son of the 5 year old Design), while in the B series the peerless AJ Mardan (another marvel from Ajman by Vervaldee; the colt gained 93,3 points). The graduate of Chrcynno-Palace Stud – Psyche Keret (Khidar – Psyche Victoria/Ekstern) had to yield before Sharaam El Chique (by Redwood Lodge Artique) from Redwood Lodge Stud and placed third.
Much more interesting was the two year old colts’ class, where onlookers could witness the competition between true fames, or horses which are on their way to becoming such. After a very good performance in Prague (to learn the ropes), EKS Alihandro (by Marwan Al Shaqab), another Athbah Stud purchase, confirmed his quality with his performance in Aachen. He received very even marks, though none of them was a “20” (unlike the Polish Equator by QR Marc out of Ekliptyka by Ekstern, who got two top marks – for type and movement). However it was the South African bred colt (a giant, by the way), who won the class with a score of 93 points. What caused a sensation was only the third place for the strongly promoted and highly decorated Barzan Al Shahania (by Stival). This American star, property of Qatari owners, learned that in Europe besides a top condition, one also needs a more subtle head. In the meantime the shape of the head according to today’s show trends is not a problem for Van Gogh AM (by Magnum Psyche). After a difficult reproductive season, the pride of Al Mohamadia Arabian Horse Stud placed just fifth. The colt was elbowed out of the fourth spot by a chestnut with white markings from Osterhof, Calypso OS (by Ajman Moniscione), spectacularly sold to the US several months ago.
Even more interesting was the three year old colts’ class. The son of Emocja and QR Marc – Espressivo, brought a lot of joy to his owners from Knocke Arabians, placing second. Whereas the manager of the stud near Riyadh must’ve been ecstatic due to the victory of Fakhr Al Khalidiah, son of multichampion Marquis CAHR. This class also showcased what the competition at shows in the future will look like. Aspirations were presented here by, among others, owners from Kuwait (Cavalli by DA Valentino) and Oman (the grey son of IM Bayard Cathare – Ajlad). The aspirations of studs from the Emirates (Dubai and Sharjah) or Saudi Arabia (Al Muawd Stud, Al Nafyat Stud) do not even have to be reminded. For us a reason to celebrate is the fifth place of Falborek’s Emarc (QR Marc – Eksterna/Ekstern), the more so, as he was awarded with as many as three “20s” for movement.
A brilliant act by Polish mares
The final installment of the Saturday spectacle and, there’s no denying, its adornment, were the classes of 4-6 year old mares, with a significant Polish participation. The relaxed judges, knowing that ahead of them was only the evening party, served truly fable-like marks. Although the truth of the matter was that indeed we got to see beautiful horses. It was visible both in the B series, where the superstar FT Shaella ruled indivisibly (receiving five “20s” for head and type each). With a score of 93,4 she gave no chance to Michałów’s El Saghira (Galba – Emira/Laheeb), who, which must be noted, elbowed the much higher ranked Abha Palma (by Marwan Al Shaqab) out of the championship finals. The ultimate results were not a foregone conclusion – there was a lot of tension along the way, so important in the show world. That’s exactly what happened in the “Polish” A series, where the very well presented Janów bred Pilarosa (Al Adeed Al Shqab – Pilar/Fawor), clearly in a type to the judges’ liking, bested Psyche Kreuza (Ekstern – Pallas-Atena/Ecaho): 93,6 to 93,1. The Chrcynno-Palace graduate gave a display of superb movement, appreciated by four judges with a “20”. It was a pity that there were no ex aequo places, because El Piatzolla (WH Justice – Enya/Ekstern) from Strusinianka had to settle for third. Pilarosa’s result turned out to be the highest of the day!
Day two: stars need an extraordinary setting
The Sunday morning in Albert-Vahle-Halle began with an extremely interesting class for mares aged 7 years old and up. More than half of the dozen or so participants were horses from Poland and it would’ve been difficult to imagine an equally high quality of this class without their participation. Even mares such as Lamana or Lumiar Bint Balzac seemed to fade in comparison. The best entrance belonged to the winner of this class, Michałów’s El Dorada (Sanadik El Shaklan – Emigrantka/Eukaliptus), currently leased to Athbah Stud. Cheers, screams – it was as though she entered the arena not with brother Schoukens, but with Brad Pitt. I have never heard such reactions before, even at last year’s Paris show. There the mare was part of Michałów’s larger “girls band” and it seemed to be forgotten that a true star needs extraordinary attention and a proper setting. A masterful move by director Jerzy Białobok with leasing the mare before Aachen brought her such attention, as well as additional points for Poland. However once again it was apparent that without additional marketing activities there is no special aura surrounding the performance of stars, that the emotions of the public are not roused. So it is a shame that the state studs do not decide on such promotional actions prior to the most important show events. Silence is only good in the library, but not in this community. This time however the proper setting was taken care of by the lessee. And the mare expressed
her gratitude with the show’s highest score, receiving 94,2 points. Second in class was Wilda (Gazal Al Shaqab – Wilga/Ekstern), third – Sefora (Ekstern – Sawantka/Pepton) and fourth – Kashira (Magnum Psyche – Kahila IV/Ibn Bint Inas), with four “20s” for movement! This mare, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Parys, outdid Pistoria (Gazal Al Shaqab – Palmira/Monogramm) and Belgica (Gazal Al Shaqab – Belladona/Europejczyk), taking revenge for the defeat at the Polish Nationals. With that she repeated the result from 2010 when she bested Polish National Champion Pinga. The difference between the marks of the “Janów” judges and those in Aachen in both cases surpassed 3 points!
The stallions deliver surprises
The later stallion classes did not bring so much joy, although the Polish representatives did produce several surprises. In the 4-6 year old stallions’ class the name of the winner was common knowledge and Abha Qatar (Marwan Al Shaqab – ZT Ludjkalba/Ludjin El Jamaal) with a score of 93,2 points could calmly wait for the finals and his toughest opponent, QR Marc (Marwan Al Shaqab – Swete Dreams/Magic Dream). Michałów’s Kabsztad (Poganin – Kwestura/Monogramm) stunned everyone with his of 92,8 and two “20s” for movement. With the same score he deprived Janów’s Palatino (Pesal – Palmeta/Ecaho) of the finals. Perhaps everything has already been said about trainer and handler Mariusz Liśkiewicz’s work with horses, so we will not repeat the known compliments. But it is worth mentioning Paweł Kozikowski from Janów, who brought out the best from both Palatino and later Poganin (Laheeb – Pohulanka/Pepton). It was evident that beside making use of his own talent he remembers the lessons of Gerard Paty. In the case of Palatino instead of a sleepy, rather decorative Arabian in Egyptian style, we saw a dynamite who moments later presented himself perfectly in halt. It was the best performance of Palmeta’s son that we could’ve imagined. Effective, as the stallion proved better than, among others, the much more recognizable MPA Giuliani.
The 7-10 year old stallions’ class also had a clear as day favorite. That’s why the nervousness of QR Marc’s handler was truly astounding. Surely the stakes were so high that even such an “old rogue” as Paolo Capecci gave in to stage fright. The hysterically led QR Marc was still able to easily score not only first place in class for his lessee, Dubai Stud and owner, Paul Gheysens, but also the most points (93,8) among all the male competitors of the show. Behind him placed Esparto (Ekstern – Ekspozycja/Eukaliptus) from Michałów, who drew attention with his capital condition already during the initial walk-around. Unexpectedly he outdid by 0,2 points one of the greatest favorites of Sheikh Mutlaq Bin Mushriff (manager of Al Khalediah Stables), Moutaz Al Biwaibiya by Aja Sangali. But that was just a foretaste of an even greater surprise which took place in the next, final stallion class (11 years old and above). It was to be expected that MCA Magnum Gold (Magnum Gold – Litique/Litigator) would win with Poganin. But that the Polish contestant would win with Dakharo was nothing short of sensational. All the stallions surpassed the 93 point mark and both class winners had an advantage of only 0,1 points over the third one.
And in the finals…
Awaiting the finals was a difficult task, but if someone managed then he could’ve learned by heart the national anthem of the United Arab Emirates. Three young horses bred by Ajman Stud and brought to Aachen collected the highest titles in their categories in impressive style. AJ Asyad gained the yearling mares’ gold, AJ Mardan the yearling stallions’ gold, while AJ Siyad – the junior mares’ gold. Although the quality of this threesome turned heads already on Saturday, the effectiveness of the exhibitor was astounding indeed – to bring three horses to Aachen and bring back three gold medals, that’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished before!
Adding the yearling championships to the All Nations script affected the event’s pace to, let’s just say, a delicate, calm one. But several subsequent events definitely caused a rise of blood pressure in the Polish onlookers. First Primera gained a silver medal in the junior mares’ championship (besting the highly decorated Shirin By Aisza), later Equator took the bronze among very strong competition. And in the grand finale El Dorada claimed the silver, while Wilda the bronze, both in the senior mares’ championship. This gave the Polish representatives the coveted Nations Cup (The Lady Harmsworth Blunt Memorial Trophy), the more valuable, as won during an anniversary edition of this venerable event. As opposed to the rather dull decorating ceremony from two years back, when four sad gentlemen collected the awards, this time everyone that was present rushed onto the area and the public could witness the Polish joy, similar to that of the Belgians, shared together without the ever-present divisions. Is it possible? Yes, it is! The Breeders Cup (The Major T.W.I. Hedley Memorial Trophy) went – just like last year – to the team from the US.
The results of the senior stallion championships could’ve been picked blindfolded. The order of: QR Marc, Abha Qatar and MCA Magnum Gold did not surprise anybody.
If I was to present a private, special prize, it would go to Ward Bemong, the manager of Athbah Stud. The skill to find talent has to muster respect. And I’m not just talking about the almost unlimited financial abilities of the stud’s owner. Bemong brought to Aachen four horses: three “scouted” and purchased (in Italy, Belgium and the Republic of South Africa) plus one “revisited” Polish star, who was given the chance to shine in all her glory. This gave the Saudi stud a total of four medals: Ascott DD gained the silver among the yearling stallions, Shirin By Aisza the bronze among the junior mares, EKS Alihandro the gold among the junior stallions, while El Dorada this time proved to be silver. And one shouldn’t grumble about the fact that they are from different breeders. In the end it’s the effectiveness that counts.
Yearling Fillies Championship
AJ Asyad (Marwan Al Shaqab – Aja Angelica/WH Justice), br/o. Ajman Stud (UAE)
Noft Al Nayfat (Ajman Moniscione – Eagleridge Passionata), br. Cindy McGown, Mark Davis, Greg & Nancy Gallun (USA), o. Alnayfat Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Tahani Al Khaled (MCA Magnum Gold – LC Tornita/Padrons Psyche), br/o. Al Khaled Farm (Saudi Arabia)
Yearling Colts Championship
AJ Mardan (Vervaldee – Felicia RLC/Shael Dream Desert), br/o. Ajman Stud (UAE)
Ascot DD (Glorius Apal – Lady Ammona DD/Psytadel), br. DD Arabians (Belgium), o. Athbah Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Sharaam El Chique (Redwood Lodge Artique – LH Gina Lola Bridgeta/MPA Giovanni), br/o. Redwood Lodge Europe (France)
Junior Mare Championships
AJ Siyadah (Vervaldee – Sweet Caroline LL/Legacy of Fame), br/o. Ajman Stud (UAE)
Primera (Eden C – Preria/Ararat), br/o. Janów Podlaski State Stud (Poland)
Shirin By Aisha (WH Justice – Aisha By Missouri/Missouri), br. A. Gurioli & F. Gladich (Italy), o. Athbah Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Junior Stallion Championships
EKS Alihandro (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Psylhouette/Padrons Psyche), br. Elkasun Arabians (South Africa), o. Athbah Stud ( SaudiArabia)
Fakhr Al Khalediah (Marquis CAHR – Barah Al Khalidiah/Abha Ifni), br/o. Al Khalediah Stables (Saudi Arabia)
Equator (QR Marc – Ekliptyka/Ekstern), br/o. Michałów State Stud (Poland)
Senior Mare Championships
FT Shaella (Shael Dream Desert – Soul Pretty TGS/Shahllenger), br. Rancho Quatro Estacoes (Brazil), o. Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE)
El Dorada (Sanadik El Shaklan – Emigrantka/Eukaliptus), br. Michałów State Stud (Poland), leased to Athbah Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Wilda (Gazal Al Shaqab – Wilga/Ekstern), br/o. Michałów State Stud (Poland)
Senior Stallion Championships
QR Marc (Marwan Al Shaqab – Swete Dreams/Magic Dream), br. Vicki & Louis Doyle, Quail Ridge Arabians (USA), o. Knocke Arabians (Belgium), leased to Dubai Arabian Stud (UAE)
Abha Qatar (Marwan Al Shaqab – ZT Ludjkalba/Ludjin El Jamaal), br. Yeguada Ses Planes (Spain), o. Al Mohamadia Stud (Saudi Arabia)
MCA Magnum Gold (Magnum Psyche – Litique/Litigator), br. Gary R. Buxton (USA), o. Al Khaled Farm (Saudi Arabia)