Red was the color of awards presented during the St. Petersburg International Cup 2015 – a show which took place on the 22nd-23rd of May as part of the 17th Hipposhere equine fair in St. Petersburg, on the grounds of the enormous Expoforum, located near the Pulkovo Airport. Red also dominated in the ads and catalogue. The Russian word “krasny” means red, but it also has a second meaning: “beautiful”, which suits the situation very well when we are talking
about the show’s host city, which was also celebrating its 312th anniversary of existence. The history of St. Petersburg dates back to 1703 when tsar Peter the Great, after gaining access to the Baltic Sea, founded here, where the Neva falls into the sea, a harbor and the Peter and Paul Fortress, under which St. Petersburg began to flourish and was soon named the
Venice of the North. The city’s coat of arms has two crossed anchors – a sea and river anchor – symbols of its geostrategic significance. Today’s St. Petersburg is first of all a cultural capital of Russia. Hundreds of museums, with the worldwide famous State Hermitage Museum, hundreds of theaters and concert halls, where plays are performed every day, numerous historic
monuments, palaces, charming nooks, greenery, parks and the city’s flagship structures, bridges – in an incredible number of 396 – as well as the Nevsky Prospect, the main artery of the city, where life pulsates till late in the night. All of this has made Petersburg one of the most wonderful urban complexes of the world. It can’t be denied that the beauty of the Arabian horse matches these surroundings perfectly. The participants of the event were lucky with the weather – St. Petersburg is known for just 60 sunny days per year. Two of them decided to lighten up that May weekend.
The show was organized under the supervision of Irina Stigler and Igor Bochkarev, was ranked by ECAHO as C-International and was truly international indeed, as eight countries brought their horses there. The most numerous representation were, naturally, horses from Russia – 16. At second place was Poland with 7 participants. Also represented was Italy, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Qatar and UAE. The main patron of the show – present in St. Petersburg – was H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani from Al Zobair Stud (Sharjah, UAE); but there were also sponsors from other Arabic countries (Dubai Stud, Al Shaqab Stud, Al Muawd Stud, Al Sayed Stud, Al Shahania, Albidayer Stud, Sawary Farm, Al Thumama Stud, Al Khalediah Stud and Al Baydaa Farm). All those that had their representatives at the show were honored during the final ceremony,
held specially in their honor – they received works by Moscow artist Nadiegda Mostyaeva – Member of Association of Russian Painters and Member of International Federation of Art. Her paintings are exhibited in Russian galleries. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani was gifted with the portrait of his favorite mare Palestra – the born in Michałów in 1986 daughter of Penitent and Patera by Bandos. The classic Polish beauty was one of the founding mares of his Al Zobair Stud in 2002. We also write about Palestra in a further part of this coverage.
Additional, symbolic prizes – bottles of Russian vodka – were handed to trainers and presenters as a thank you from the organizers for their evolvement and long journey. Russian handlers were offered a bottle of champagne. It has to be said that the horses had to cover a long distance from their maternal studs in order to perform on the arena in Petersburg. The show was judged by: Mohamed Machmoum (Morocco), Joanne Lowe (UK) and Christine Jamar-Demeersseman (Belgium). Acting as announcer, with his usual charm, was Scott Benjamin (Canada). The elegant ring master was Alan Preston from Australia. The show could also count with two expert DC members: Jackie Vandyke (GB) and Dr. Gianpaolo Teobaldelli (Italy).
First we saw the fillies and mares. The yearling fillies class was won by the performing with number 1 Polish Cracovia (El Omari – Cyrylica/Empres), bred and owned by Kurozwęki Stud (89,66) before the Italian Alba (ZT Shakfantasy – Alija by Besson/Besson Carol), bred and owned by Soc. Agr. Arabian Inspiration (88,83). Yearling horses usually don’t move very well indoors and especially after a long journey, however the chestnut Cracovia managed to receive quite high
marks for this trait: 18-19-19,5. It was not until the senior horses appeared on the arena that we saw some genuine movement. Among the juniors the exception to the rule was the year old SS Coronado Al Jamaal (Cavalli – SS Tadmor/Ajman Moniscione), bred by Stigler Stud and owned by Jamal Kahok (Jordan), who proved that he isn’t intimidated by the indoors. To the joy of the public, always eager for such moments, he trotted gracefully for 19-19-19,5.
But let’s get back to the mares. The Brazilian-bred chestnut daughter of Thee Apprentice and Hanna Morab by El Nabila B, Helky Morab, currently part of Sheihk Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani’s collection, won the class of 2 year old fillies with a score of 91,38. Highly assessed for her type and head and neck, she achieved a large advantage over the second filly, Nabilah Al Shaqab (Farhoud Al Shaqab – Olivia Rose JCA/Brando Bey JCA), bred and owned by Al Shaqab Stud (89,83). In turn both 3 year old fillies that found themselves in the finals came from
Poland: Cyraneczka (Kabsztad – Cetra/Eldon), bred by Kurozwęki Stud and owned by Idris Hassan, and Perdżia (Kabsztad – Perga/Emigrant), bred by Michałów Stud and owned by Waldemar Bąk. The former was evaluated a bit higher than her rival (90,66 : 90,5). But the public could see how Polish horses really move in the 4-6 year old mare class during the performance of Enerina (Ekstern – Energida/Werbum), bred and owned by Czeple Arabians. The mare presented
an unconstrained movement with a suspension phase (19-19,5-19,5) which gave her a final result of 91,33 and second place, behind the extremely feminine, subtle Pelmira (Esparto – Pelgrima/Emigrant) with a sophisticated head, bred by Białka Stud and owned by Mateusz Jaworski (91,66), Reserve Champion from the recent show in Travagliato (Italy). She was shown to victory by Luca Oberti.
The Russian representatives had a chance to qualify for the finals mostly when the rivals from abroad were not present. It cannot go unnoticed that the Russian horses are less-experienced than the ones from European training stables. This takes some parts of the points away needed to successfully compete with them. Russian breeders still have different approach in breeding, with preference to more solid, fundamental horses which often are tested on the racetrack. Their European rivals usually have show pedigrees, whereas the Russian horses mainly have racing blood flowing in their veins. In the 7-9 year old mares classes there were no foreign contestants. Victorious – awarded later as Best Russian Horse of the Show – was Edit Piaf
(Pobeditel – Emka/Manas) bred by Igor Bochkarev and owned by SV Arabians (89,66) before Amrita (415 Toreador – 1011 Agara), bred and owned by Equiline Stud (Lada Konsul). Let’s recall that Toreador (b. 1995) is a half-brother of Trepet (by Parusnik), the winner of the Derby and numerous prestigious stakes (Guineas, Topol Stake, Great All Russia Stakes). Toreador himself also had a successful track career and at the same time he did not lack beauty as the son of 1990 European Champion Stallion (Lier, Belgium) Drug.
The 10 year old and above mare class was won by Donna Diva (Ekstern – La Diva/Warandes Plakat), bred by Sifaco Benelux and owned by Al Muawd Stud (90,33). Behind her placed the Tersk-bred Niksa (Karat – Nahodka/Drug), owned by SV Arabians (Russia). We must add that the present in her pedigree stallion Drug is 1990 & 1991 European Race Horse of the Year, winner of the Russian Derby, Coupe D’Europe (Evry) and Al Nayan International (Kempton Park, England).
After the mares came time for the stallions. The winner of the yearling colts class was the afore mentioned SS Coronado Al Jamal. This full of charm chestnut, with a beautifully dished head, won over the judges and not only his class (with a score of 92,16), but was later named Junior Champion Stallion and Best in Show. Second placed a Russian horse with a world renowned name – Ekstern (317 Kanion – Evberia), bred and owned by Equiline Stud. But for now
his score (86,33) shows that he won’t be following in the footsteps of his famous, undefeated namesake. Among the 2 year old colts there were only Russian contestants. The grandson of WH Justice, Arni (589 Nizami – Ariel/Aja Shakakhan), bred and owned by Siver Stud (S. Ermolov) bested Gilgamesh (Gnev – Granitnaia), bred and owned by O. Balashova. Among the 4-6 year old stallions the Polish Zimarc (QR Marc – Zeksterna/Ekstern), bred by Czeple Arabians and owned by Reza Alhadadi ran away from his rivals with a huge point advantage over them. The graceful mover, with a score of 90,5, had no trouble to win over 27 Moris Bejart Tersk (HK Marcello
– Borodina/Piligrim), bred by Tersk Stud and owned by I. Kicul. In the next class, the 7-9 year old stallions, again a foreign guest gave no chances to a local, though born outside of Russia, rival. It was the Canadian-bred Extremme RSA (True Colors – Bahiyaa/Imperial Saturn), owned by Igar Taboru from Israel. He won, with a score of 91,33, before Leran AA (Laheeb – Latifah AA/Al Maraam), bred by Ariela Arabians (Israel), owned by V.V. Minaev. In the final class,
stallions aged 10 years old and above, a graduate of Janów Podlaski, the Polish Perseusz (Laheeb – Pepesza/Euakliptus), owned by Przemysław Sawicki, gave a true show of how an Arabian horse can move. In the hands of Marek Demczuk he won his class (91,16, including 19,5-20,19,5 for movement) and the Best Movement award. Behind him placed Gnev (Nagan – Gusarka/Karavan), bred by Oros Stud and owned by O. Lihickaja.
In the finals the “fun” started all over again, meaning that every horse that qualified for the finals had a shot at the gold medal. The podium was taken mostly by horses from abroad. Among the seven Polish contestants as many as six claimed medals: Cyraneczka and Perdżia received the silver and bronze in the junior mares category. They were bested by Helky Morab, who took the gold. Pelmira and Enerina were honored with gold and bronze and were separated by
the silver Donna Diva. Zimarc and Perseusz were awarded with the gold and bronze in the senior stallions. Extreme RSA became silver champion in the same category. Only the junior stallions championship allowed Russian horses to stand atop the podium – Arni and Ekstern gave their owners the silver and bronze. The gold was taken by Coronado Al Jamal.
And so came to an end the first show under the name of St. Petersburg International Cup. Although this was not the first gathering of Arabian horses in the city of tsar Peter the Great, but this time there was a new breath of air with the European quality of the contestants from abroad and the organizational splendor of the show. The hosts offered the guests not only “bed and breakfast”, but also a cultural and educational installment, together with the touring of the State Hermitage Museum. With no doubt all of the participants of this event will eagerly return to Petersburg, with horses or without them.