Black and white was the main color motif of the 25th Mediterranean & Arab Countries Arabian Horse Championship in Menton on the French Riviera (13-14th of June). A chess board and pieces were incorporated into traditional decorations made out of lemons and oranges. Not everyone obeyed the required dress-code, but the judges and presenters all wore black and white, which corresponded with the weather. Because black clouds hung over Menton from the very
beginning of the event. When they sometimes parted, the arena was flooded with piercing white light. The pouring rain on Sunday caused a more than hourly delay in the opening of the show and the arrived guests dried their clothes and shoes for a long time. The ground became muddy and both horses and people alike slid on it… These types of surprises aren’t anything
extraordinary in Białka or Janów Podlaski, but are a big rarity in Menton in June. But not only the “black” or “white” weather matched the event’s chess decor. For many participants competing at Menton is part of a game that can be compared to chess. The selecting of a suitable championship for one’s horse, so that it could get as high as it possibly can, is a separate and
rather great ability and a victory in such a prestigious event elevates the horse’s value at least several times. But large money usually plays on the minds of those that lack it. It is not money that matters in Menton – many of the horses shown here will never be for sale – but ambition. Those that win this game of chess pave their way to triumph in the World Championships. Because Paris is often a play-off or repeat from Menton.
The mare classes. A full set of “20s” for movement for Polish-bred representatives
To the sounds of the memorable Michael Jackson song “Black & White” (which was played in Menton more than once) nine yearling fillies of the A series entered the arena. It has to be said that here classes are always numerous (94 participants this year) and it is not easy to make it into the finals. The winner was D Shireen (Kahil Al Shaqab – Magic Mon Amour/Windsprees Mirage) from Dubai Stud, a beautiful bay filly who turned heads already on the warm up arena with incredible charm. She also won over the judges, who assessed her at 92,9 pts, including a “20” for type. She also received the award for Best Head, traditionally given out in Menton after each class. In the B series of the yearling fillies (7 participants) distinctively standing out with her beauty was Mozn Albidayer
(SMA Magic One – Mattaharii/Magnum Chall HVP), winner of this year’s shows in Dubai and Ajman. She got her name from a character in a popular sitcom in the Arabic countries. Mozn’s on-screen partner is Raoud. He in turn served as inspiration for the name of a yearling colt from Albidayer Stud, also shown in Menton. Will these two become a pair like in the tv show we will find out in a couple of years – they are by the same sire, but out of different dams. Meanwhile Mozn received 92 pts and placed second in class, behind the Qatari triumphant Sultanat Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Mishaahl/Mishaah, 92,1). The Best Head award went, by the way, to Mozn.
The best, also in terms of head, in the 2 year olds class (A series, 7 contestants) was Nesj El Daikhima (Ajman Moniscione – Nesj El Khimala/Khidar, 91,2), owned by Al Shira’aa Stables (UAE) of Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This stud is a new player on the Arabian scene; its manager is Antonia Bautista, known up to now as the owner (with David Pujalt) of Dalia Arabians (Mallorca). Performing in the B series was Orla Turnia (Shanghai
EA – Orlanka/Aslan), bred by StanRed Arabians (Poland) and owned by Al Thumama Stud from Qatar. She placed fourth (90,1). The class was won by Om El Aisha Al Jassimya (WH Justice – Om El Aliha/Om Al Azeem) from Qatar with the same score (92,5) as the second placed (and awarded for Best Head) Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO – Hazy Al Khalediah/ F Shamaal). The Qatari contestant won thanks to higher marks for type (altogether she received as
many as three “20s”: two for type and one for head and neck). The next after Orla Turnia filly from Poland appeared in the three year olds class (7 rivals) – it was the Michałów born Piacolla (Enzo – Polonica/Ekstern), owned by Athbah Stud. Despite a very high score (92,2, including a “20” for movement) she was not able to beat the chestnut daughter of Ajman Moniscione, Delight’s Divah RB (out of Honey’s Delight RB/JJ Señor Magnum), owned by Alsayed Stud (Saudi Arabia), who also grabbed the award for Best Head (92,3, including two “20s” for head and neck).
In the class of 4-7 year old mares (8 contestants) victorious was Klassical Dream MI (Klass – Mustang S Magnum/Magnum Forty Four), bred in Australia (Mulawa Arabians) and owned by Al Khalediah Stables. Her score of 92,5 was made up of a “20” for type and another one for head and neck. Also the Best Head award went to this grey, very impressive and elegant mare with characteristic, “painted” nostrils. Later she also took home the Best Mare in Show title. Polish spectators were greatly looking forward to the oldest mare class (8 rivals). It was here that the
face-off between the Polish stars – daughters of Gazal Al Shaqab, representing Saudi Arabia – Norma (out of Nina/Monogramm) bred by Michałów and owned by Al Muawd Stud and Pernila (out of Pepesza/Eukaliptus) bred by Janów Podlaski and owned by Athbah Stud – was to take place. Both fulfilled the expectations of the public and received an entire set of top marks for movement! No other horse repeated that feat in Menton. Once again Polish horses proved that their movement is famous for a reason. It is worth mentioning that Norma, prior to her class
performance, decided to “break free” and trotted loosely among her class rivals. This did not prevent her from winning the class with a score of 93,1 (apart from the “20s” for movement she received three “20s” for type). Pernila (one “20” for type) placed third with a score of 91,7, behind Salwa Al Zobair by Marajj, out of a Polish dam – Esklawa by Eukaliptus. Salwa, similarly to Norma, received three “20s” for type and better marks for head, which gave her that award in this category. The class was not judged by Anna Stojanowska, who represented Poland among this jury panel.
The stallion classes. Triumphs of Hariry Al Shaqab
Sunday morning was left for the stallions. The delayed (due to the weather) yearlings from the A series appeared on the arena in a number of 6. The leader turned out to be the US bred Alexxanderr (Excalibur EA – AR Most Irresistible/ML Mostly Padron, 92,1), owned by Alsayed Stud, from the first crop of Shanghai EA’s heir, Excalibur EA, purchased to Uruguay by Las Rosas Arabians. Although Alexxanderr did not yet turn white and “blended” in with the greyish ground, he was evaluated very high and very evenly by all the judges. The award for Best Head (a “20” for this
trait) went to the black winner from Las Vegas, the American Artemas GA (JJ Bellagio – Duchess Of Marwan/Marwan Al Shaqab). Artemas however did not move too well and placed third in class, behind Amaar El Nasser (EKS Alihandro – Remal Al Nasser/Ashhal Al Rayyan) from Qatar (92, including one “20” for type and one more for head and neck). Performing in the B series (9 contestants) was Wortex Kalliste (Shanghai EA – Mirwanah Kalliste/Marwan Al Shaqab), awarded later as the Best French Horse. He placed third (91,1, one “20” for movement). It was also
here that the aforementioned “sitcom” Raoud Albidayer (SMA Magic One – DL Marielle/Marwan Al Shaqab) appeared, classified at fifth spot. The class was won by D Aasef (Marajj – Lumiar Bint Balzac/Lumiar Balzac) from Dubai (92, including a “20” for type and “20” for movement), before Wajeeh Athbah (EKS Alihandro – El Dorada/Sanadik El Shaklan) from Athbah Stud, who also received the title of Best Head. It has to be mentioned that his dam, the Polish El
Dorada, was honored as Best Dam in the Show and it was the first time this award was given out. Representing the sponsor of this award, Albidayer Stud, their trainer Barry Shepherd handed the award to Anna Stojanowska. Among the two year olds (8 rivals) triumphed Gallardo J (Emerald J – Gomera J/Ekstern), owned by Ajman Stud (92, including a “20” for type and “20” for head and neck) and it was him who took home the Best Head prize. Though during his performance the sun came out, the slippery ground was not suitable for physical activities. Gallardo J also slipped.
Eleven three year old colts showed up in Menton, including the awarded for Best Head in this class son of Espadrilla/Monogramm, Equiborn KA (by QR Marc). With a score of 92,1 (including a “20” for type) he placed second in class (and later became Best European Horse), behind the RSA-bred EKS Mansour (EKS Alihandro – EKS Phateena/WN Star of Antiqua), owned by Al Shahania Stud (Qatar). This stallion received a score of 92,7 (including a “20” for type). Four stallions aged 8 years and up managed to perform before lunch – victorious was El Palacio VO (Al Lahab – El Dorada/Sanadik El Shaklan), owned by Al Khalediah Stables (91,6, including a “20” for type and Best Head honor), contributing to the laurels for El Dorada.
After lunch we saw one more class held – the 4-7 year old stallions. Here we saw a horse that grabbed the most titles, including Best in Show Male, Highest Scored horse, Gold Stallion Champion and Best Middle Eastern Horse. It is thank to him (among others) that Al Shaqab Stud left Menton with the title of Best Owner/Breeder and Marwan Al Shaqab received the accolade of Best Sire. We are talking about Hariry Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – White Silkk/Dakar El Jamaal), blessed with a kilometer long neck, which entered the arena cheered on by a deafening applause from the public and the staff of Al Shaqab. His score was 93,3, including four “20s” for type and one for head and neck. The class win and Best Head award were just a prelude to his successes in the finals.
The finals. A silver for Norma
The top three horses from each class qualified for the finals. Among the yearlings triumphed Sultanat Al Shaqab, before D Shireen and Sama AM (Eden C – Sara Al Mohamadia/Marwan Al Shaqab) from Ajman. There was no room on the podium for Mozn Albidayer, who lost to Sama by one point (6:7). Among the junior mares Delight’s Divah RB bested Om El Aisha Aljassimya and Bint Hazy Al Khalediah. Piacolla did not make it onto the podium. In the senior mare finals Norma took the silver by a one point advantage over the bronze medalist Salwa Al Zobair. The gold went to Klassical Dream MI. Pernila did not want to show her assets again and therefore did not find herself among the medalists.
The gold medal of the yearling colts went to Alexxanderr, the silver to D Aasef and the bronze to Amaar Al Nasser. Gallardo J was awarded with the junior gold, while EKS Mansour took the silver and Equiborn KA took the bronze. The senior stallions saw of course the triumph of Hariry Al Shaqab, before Baahir El Marwan (Marwan Al Shaqab – HB Bessolea/Besson Carol) from Kuwait and his stablemate E.S. Harir (AJ Dinar – TF Magnum’s Magic/Magnum Psyche), owned by Al Saqran Stud. The “Espoir” (Hope) award was given to the two year old Marius
Madonna (QR Marc – FS Magnum’s Madonna/Magnum Psyche) from Knocke Arabians (Belgium).
After that Menton 2015 became history – some participants are still celebrating their victories, others must swallow defeat. And the game continues, regardless whether we accept its rules or not.