79 horses from 25 countries on the arena at Parc des Expositions Paris Nord Villepinte (126 in the catalogue), 5 representatives of Poland, a high quality of contestants and victories of the top favourites – that could be a quick summary of the 37th World Arabian Horse Championships in Paris (25-27.11), which took place during the annual Salon de Cheval. Despite a lack of spectacular surprises, as usual during an event of this rank, there was a lot happening and as usual conclusions can be drawn about the current condition of Arabian horse breeding.
For a while we will definitely be witnessing a shifting of accents. When existing leaders step back, new players appear. An undisputed triumphant of this year’s edition of the World Championships is Dubai Arabian Horse Stud – who can boast not only two gold medals and a platinum, but also numerous special awards, including titles for best breeder and best owner. Kuwait, up to now not so visible, made their presence strongly felt. Ajman and Qatar showed that they will not idly watch from the sidelines. Giacomo Capecci’s entrance bareback on gold medallist EKS Alihandro – just like Michael Byatt, who eight years ago rode similarly atop then champion Marwan Al Shaqab, the sire of the this year’s champion – will remain in our memory. There was not a single horse on the podium that did not belong to a Middle Eastern stud, though several medallists were bred elsewhere.
The honour of Polish breeding was this year defended solely by Michałów Stud – there were no horses from Janów, Białka or any private breeders. Among the five mares present in Paris three returned with a Top Ten title. Is it a good result? In the face of the changes that took place this year in state breeding and the chaos that resulted from it – the studs of the Agricultural Property Agency are already run by a third change of staff this year – it’s not so bad. Reorganisation, peaceful or turbulent, always requires time. As can be seen on the example of Al Shaqab (which is also undergoing great changes this year) or Al Khalediah Stables, it is not possible to restructure and win. This time the power that often dictated its own terms during the World Championships had to settle for “just” Top Ten titles of its graduates.
The show began on Friday, right on time at 10:00, without any special fireworks reserved traditionally for the Sunday finals. The event was judged by Maria Annaratone Ferraroni (Italy), Cedes Bakker (Holland), Manfred Hain (Germany), Murillo Kammer (Brazil), Ann Norden (Sweden), Richard Petty (USA), Ahmed Hamza (Egypt), Graham Smith (Australia). Present among DC members was Teresa de Borbón (Spain), who this season ended her participation as a show official. Another judge that will retire is Nasr Marei (Egypt).
Ten horses with the highest score from each age category divided into two series qualified for the finals, with the top four from each series having a guaranteed spot in the championships. Each class also awarded a best head prize.
Mares and fillies
Competing with number 1 was the grey Madinat Al Baydaa
(RFI Farid – TS Madeleine/Ansata Sinan), bred and owned by Al Baydaa Stud (Egypt), in the hands of Rafael Curti. The filly has a beautiful, carved, very dished head which did not go unnoticed. She received 91,75 pts from the judges (including 2×20 for head and neck) and a well deserved award for best head. She placed third in the A series of the yearling fillies behind another statuesque daughter of RFI Farid, with a just as beautiful head and neck – HDM Maria Apal (out of WW Imania Apal/Psytadel), bred by Eleonore Mertens (Belgium) and owned by Ajman Stud (92,17, incl. a 20 for type and 20 for head and neck); and the Qatari Anwar Al Shahania (Kahil Al Shaqab – Sierra Tango TT/Audacious PC), bred and owned by Al Shahania Stud. Though both had the same final score, Anwar won due to higher marks for movement (she also got one 20 for head and neck). However in the finals out of the two of them it was Madinat that turned out better and “jumped” on the podium, gaining the bronze medal to the joy of her presenter. HDM Maria Apal received the silver and both were bested by the winner of the B series – D Ajayeb
(RFI Farid – Ladi Veronika/Versace). The young graduate of Dubai Arabian Horse Stud was evaluated at 93,58 pts, which is rare for such a high score to be given in the yearling classes. But the filly broke the bank with top marks – 5×20 for type and an entire row of 20s for head and neck, plus a 20 for movement and high marks for body. It has to be said that the graduate of Paolo Capecci, despite a dull “greyish” coat color for now, makes a huge impression with her correctness of build. Harmonious, good moving, proudly carrying a high set tail and with everything else in its right place. The award for best head in this class also went to her.
And so it turned out that the three medallists of the yearling fillies are daughters of the Brazilian-bred RFI Farid (RFI Maktub – RFI Fayara El Shiraz/Shiraz El Jamal), owned by RFI Partnerhip, the bronze medallist of the World Championships in 2010. No wonder that it was this stallion that on Sunday received the special award for best sire.
Performing in the yearling fillies category was the chestnut Emanolla (Vitorio TO – Emandoria/Gazal Al Shaqab) – correct, wonderfully prepared, but without such an exotic head as her rivals. She qualified for the finals from sixth place in class (90,58). The Top Ten title that she brought home must be considered a very decent result.
We had an opportunity to observe very high quality in the junior mares category. In the A series of the 2 year olds as many as three of them could be considered the favourites: the lovely Qatari Mai Aljassimya (FA El Rasheem – RP Miss Surprise/WH Justice); the representing Sharjah (UAE) US National Junior Champion Mare Mozn Albidayer (S.M.A. Magic One – Mattaharii/Magnum Chall HVP); and the Kuwaiti (Al Khashab Stud) Malikat Al Moluk (Mameluck – Asalat Al Hala/Al Bilal), bred by Halawa Khader (Israel), which we saw in Poland during the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival 2016, where she claimed the silver. Mai Aljassimya, a complete filly with an extremely exotic head, won this competition with a score of 92,83, incl. 5×20 for type, a 20 for head and high marks (even 19,5) for body and topline. The more and more beautiful with each show Mozn Albidayer “snatched” the award for best head from her. The final score for Albidayer Stud’s graduate – 92,42 (20 for type, 3×20 for head and neck) – reflects her outstandingly high quality. In the finals the gold and silver went to those two mares. Malikat Al Moluk (91,92) had to yield before the superiority of her rivals and settle for the title of Top Ten,
as the bronze went to the winner of the second junior mare series – the 3 year old Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO – Hazy Al Khalediah/F Shamaal). This beautiful grey mare was up to recently the adornment of Al Khalediah Stables (Saudi Arabia) and now claims honours for her new owner, the above mentioned quickly developing and very ambitious Al Khashab Stud from Kuwait. The sale of the mare was announced just several days before the championships in Paris. As it appears this purchase was a very savvy mover by the stud’s owner, Mubarak Al Khashab.
Second place in the 3 year old mares class was secured by the superbly prepared Elle Flamenca (Ajman Moniscione – Allamara MA/Marwan Al Shaqab), bred by Markelle Arabians and owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (92,08, incl. a 20 for head and neck and the best head award). Third came Michałów’s Galerida (Shanghai EA – Galilea/Laheeb). It seems that the memorable champion from Białka is regaining her shine, which appeared to diminish for a moment. She presented herself very well (91,58) and showed that she can efficiently compete with the best.
Other of our representatives in the junior mare category included El Larinera (Empire – El Emeera/Ekstern) and Pustynia Kahila (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pustynna Malwa/Ekstern). The first of them took eighth, last place in series A (89,42) and the second – sixth (90,5) in series B. None of them qualified for the finals.
A wonderful show, worthy of an event of the highest rank, was provided by the senior mares. The A series was won by Donna Molta Bella SRA (DA Valentino – RD Fabreanna/Falcon BHF), bred by Dan & Maureen Grossman (USA), owned by Al Saqran Stud (Kuwait). Her score of 93,92 was one of the show’s highest results! An entire row of 20s for type, 2×20 for head and neck and 3×20 for movement plus an award for best head and later a special award – for best moving mare. She justly deserved so many honours. Her name (“Very Beautiful Lady”) turned out to be very far-sighted. Her position was not endangered by the wonderfully prepared Wieża Marc’a (QR Marc – Wieża Marzeń/Ekstern), bred by Michałów Stud and owned by Sinus Arabian Stud (Sweden), the only Polish bred horse of foreign ownership competing in this year’s World Championships – 91,67, incl. a 20 for movement and second place in class – nor the phenomenal Aja Europa (Aja Justified – HB Marais/Marwan Al Shaqab), bred by Mr & Mrs Hickford (GB) and owned by the Royal Cavalry of Oman (91,5 and third place in class).
The B series saw the revelation of the All Nations Cup in Aachen – Tehama Ballalina (Tehama NA Sidaqa – JJ Shai Majestic Queen/Laddinn), bred by Linda Ferguson (Zimbabwe) and owned by Al Zobair Stud (UAE), who received 93,67 pts, incl. 4×20 for type, 3×20 for head and neck and one more 20 for movement. Tom Schoukens showed her using the “carrot and stick” method – with the carrot being much more efficient, because the mare stared at it as though at a work of art. Also shown in this group was the last of Polish contestants present in Paris – Emmona (Monogramm – Emilda/Pamir). For her age she was in beautiful condition. Her score was 92 pts, incl. 2×20 for movement. Third place in class guaranteed her a Top Ten in the finals.
Stallions and colts
The yearling colts that came to Paris had a lot of luck, because due to their number all (except the disqualified D Arghad) left France with a Top Ten title. This used to happen before. At the time we wrote that such a situation should encourage owners to come with their yearling colts to Paris – but as it seems it did not. In the A series the best head award went to the impressive Pharaoh HBV (Psyche HBV – RFI Sophie Al Maktub/Al Maktub, 91,08), bred by Cury Luciano (Brazil) and owned by Al Baydaa Stud (Egypt). The class was however won by the later bronze medalist, Mansour AM, son of World Champions: this year’s – EKS Alihandro and Abha Palma by Marwan Al Shaqab, which triumphed in Paris as a junior in 2008. Mansour, a graduate of Al Mohamadia Stud from Saudi Arabia, received 91,25 pts, incl. a 20 for type.
Bad luck accompanied the contestant from series B – D Arghad (FA El Rasheem – Krystal Tiara/Ekstern) from Dubai, a colt with a head and neck like a dream. The judges however pointed to the chain of the halter being too tight, which resulted in a prolonged discussion, finally cut short by the show’s organizer, Christianne Chazel, who entered the arena and abruptly ended the dispute. The horse had to leave the arena. Victorious in this group was another representative of Dubai – D Seraj (FA El Rasheem – Ladi Veronika/Versace), half-brother to the filly D Ajayeb. Their dam, the lovely multi-champion Ladi Veronika (out of Nisrs Natevka/Ansata El Nisr), who claimed the silver in 2009 and bronze in 2010, was honored as the best dam of the show. This mare is worth her weight in gold! Two embryos, each by a different sire, resulted the same year in two foals which are taking the show arena by storm, claiming two gold medals of the World Championships during one event for their owner. This is a first in the show’s history. D Seraj, presented by Paolo Capecci, is a complete horse despite his young age. His score was 93,58: 5×20 for type, a 20 for head and neck (and award for best head) and a 20 for movement. Once more it should be noted that we don’t often see such marks in the yearling category, especially among the colts. In the finals he won unanimously and such unanimity among the judges happened only twice this year. The silver went to Jaal Aljassimya (WH Justice – Annaiss/Ansata Nile Echo) from Qatar, who was second in class behind D Seraj, with a score of 91,25.
In the 2 year old colts class there was not a single grey contestant. There was also a very small number of greys among the 3 year olds. Could it be that in the near future grey coat enthusiasts will have a problem in finding a world class sire? It would be a pity if the classic grey Arabian becomes a rarity… The award for best head went to the winner of this series, the bred in Belgium by Danielle Saelens Luigi (Kanz Albidayer – Lolita/Om El Bahreyn), owned by Al Shahania Stud (Qatar). His score was 93,42, incl. 4×20 for type, a 20 for head and neck and 2×20 for movement. We must admit that the colt with his extreme head was an unquestionable winner in his category. However once again he was not able to best his main rival in this age category, whom he has been facing from the beginning of the season – the bred by Jadem Arabians (Belgium) Gallardo J (Emerald J – Gomera J/Ekstern), owned by Ajman Stud. Gallardo, who breezed through the 3 year olds class and won, is a fulfilled horse by all means. It is hard to find any faults. He received five top marks for type, which resulted in an end score of 92,83. His pedigree has a lot of Polish blood in it. His sire Emerald J is a son of Emandoria who thanks to this one superb sire has already written herself down in
history as a great producer. His dam Gomera J (Ekstern – Georgia/Eukaliptus) has an almost pure Polish pedigree: the Belgian Georgia is a daughter of Galia, a descendant of Michałów’s Gil and Gwana by Pasat, born at Ismer Stud. Gallardo J has been marching toward the Triple Crown and has scored an incredible success, bringing glory not only to the breeding ideas of Christine Jamar, but also to Polish bloodlines and his owner, Ajman Stud, who claimed the Triple Crown for the second time in a row – last year thanks to AJ Azzam.
The bronze medal of the World Championships in the junior category went to the colt Ghazwan Aljassimya (Marwan Al Shaqab – Athina El Jamaal/Maysoun) and it was one of this year’s great successes of Al Jassimya Stud and Giacomo Capecci, who – although he lost the contract with such an important client as Al Shaqab – did not lose his step for a bit. It has to be said that it is a beautiful horse, though not as highly promoted as Gallardo J or Luigi, but treading on their heels in terms of quality.
It is no secret that the audience awaited the senior stallions with great anticipation. Everyone wanted to see the performance of the statuesque EKS Alihandro (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Psylhouette/Padrons Psyche), bred by Willy Brown from Elkasun Arabians (RSA), owned by Athbah Stud (Saudi Arabia), gold medallist of the World Championships from 2013, receiver of 95 pts and a gold medal at this year’s Aachen, as well as a gold champion from Aachen in 2013 and 2012. It was evident that IM Bayard Cathare (Padrons Immage – Shamilah Bagheera/Nadir I), bred in France by Richard Roques and owned by the Royal Cavalry of Oman would show himself superbly. Numerous ads also announced the participation of the Qatari Sultan Al Zobara (Gazal Al Shaqab – Inra Al Shaqab/Wahag Al Shaqab), bred and owned by Abdullah Al Misnad (leased by Al Thumama Stud), the yearling champion from Paris from four years ago, a horse of a beautiful dark bay coat colour, who performed in class together with EKS Alihandro. However already during the preliminary walk it was clear that Sultan, despite his undoubtedly huge beauty, would not endanger the more experienced, more at ease and more masculine EKS Alihandro. The marks confirmed this impression.
EKS Alihandro received as many as 94,25 pts, incl. 5×20 for type, 2×20 for head and neck and one more 20 for movement. It soon turned out to be the highest score of the show. He was also awarded for best moving stallion. In the finals, to the tune of “Sound of Silence” performed by Disturbed (sung by David Draiman, from the “Immortalized” album, 2015), EKS Alihandro stood like a statue made of bronze. When he was named Gold Champion, Giacomo Capecci entered the arena riding bareback, which was captured by tens of photographers. This shot has a chance to become an iconic image of these championships.
Sultan Al Zobara was probably supposed to play the role of a “dark horse” – befitting to his coat colour – but this was actually played by another horse of a chestnut coat colour. Behind Sultan (92,83, incl. 4×20 for type and 2×20 for head and neck plus an award for best head and the silver in the finals), rather unexpectedly, placed the son of the once exported from Bełżyce to France Piwosz (Arbil – Piwnica/Eldon), Dzhai Nunki (out of Solvia de Prazilia/Mystic Immage), bred and owned by Jean-Jacques & Felicité Savenier from Nunki Arabians. Shown by Bernat Tolra, he received 91 pts and secured a Top Ten title. IM Bayard Cathare claimed the bronze and earlier 93,58 in class, including the rarely seen 2×17,5 for legs.
La Marseillaise and awards, awards, awards
The Sunday finals began with the proper celebrations expected of such event. First the choir of the Republican Guard sang “Le Chant du Départ”, a revolutionary anthem against all despotism, composed in 1794 by Étienne Nicolas Méhul to the words of the poet Marie-Joseph Blaise de Chénier. Later the artist Bruno Rivière, specializing in painting against the clock, made an image of an Arabian horse in less than a minute to the energising music by Vanessa Mae („Storm”). The painting later went to Athbah Stud as an award for EKS Alihandro for best movement in the stallion category. And next – in full! – the Marseillaise was performed by that same choir.
For several years now „lifetime achievement awards” are given out in Paris, similarly to the world of film. A Platinum World Champion was Pianissima and so is Pinga. This year the Platinum in the mare category, to the pride of Al Jassimya Farm, was awarded to the 2011 World Champion CR Jasmeenah (WH Justice – Fforget-Me-Not/Ffatal Attraction), bred by Roy & Carole Anne Ratcliffe (GB), purchased by the Qatari stud of Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2010. The snowy-white mare with a beautiful, expressive dark eye was led by the very touched Marc Gamlin, her first trainer and presenter. The Platinum Champion in the stallion category was Royal Colours (True Colours – Xtreme Wonder/The Elixir), bred by Sherry & Mathew Zischkau (USA) and owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, a double World Champion from 2006 and 2009. And once more the flag of United Arab Emirates appeared on the Parisian arena.
The crowds went wild when Donna Molta Bella SRA was announced Gold Champion. Gold pompons went up in the air, hoisted by hostesses from the Al Saqran Stud team. Paolo Capecci, running onto the arena, jumped up and down with joy. An Arabian horse show – especially one of such rank – is an event where everything counts, each detail, also the mood of the presenter. This year Paolo Capecci was all smiles. It was clear that every performance brought him joy, though it is also accompanied by great stress, because the stakes are really high. After the decoration ceremony Donna Molta Bella was led for an honour round by her happy owner, Bassam Al Saqran – the same that probably inspired some Polish newspapers owned by the German publisher Verlagsgruppe Passau, to write dismissively after this year’s Janów’s sale that instead of sheikhs and ladies there were “Kuwaitis in baseball caps”… This time the owner of Al Saqran Stud also sported a baseball cap, yet I doubt if anyone in this business would allow themselves to publish such a rude comment. The war in the media, even so fierce as in Poland, does not justify the disparaging tone towards people who are not only Janów’s guests, but also leave large sums in Poland.
Chosen as silver champion was Tehama Ballalina and the bronze went to Aja Europa. It should also be mentioned that among the competition of “new marketing ideas” in Paris the most charming was a plush toy horse promoting Tehama Ballalina.
This year’s Paris event was abundant in touching moments. Unfortunately, without the participation of Polish fans. It has to be clearly said that today there aren’t too many horses in Polish studs that would stir the emotions of judges and the public – the stars are getting older and their justified successors in the younger crops seem to be not that numerous. As we could observe during last weekend, at a show like the World Championships it is not enough for a horse to be correct. Excellent movement will also not bring a medal if there won’t be a beautiful head set on a slim neck and that something that we call charisma. That is quite a challenge for the new management of Polish state studs. If Poland still wants to be in the lead, it cannot let the world “run off”. Of course if Poland is to still compete on world arenas and – at least to some extent – dictate the trends. It would be a pity if it would limit itself to being a reservoir of genes, that people would turn to from time to time. That is also an idea, but it’s questionable whether it would prove efficient in today’s times. We will definitely learn about the new direction in the years to come.
Yearling Female Championship
D Ajayeb (RFI Farid – Ladi Veronika/Versace), br/o. Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE)
HDM Maria Apal (RFI Farid – WW Imania Apal/Psytadel), br. Eleonore Mertens (Belgium), o. Ajman Stud (UAE)
Madinat Al Baydaa (RFI Farid – TS Madeleine/Ansata Sinan), br/o. Al Baydaa Stud (Egypt)
Junior Female Championship
Mai Aljassimya (FA El Rasheem – RP Miss Surprise/WH Justice), br/o. Al Jassimya Farm (Qatar)
Mozn Albidayer (S.M.A. Magic One – Mattaharii/Magnum Chall HVP), br/o. Albidayer Stud (Sharjah, UAE)
Bint Hazy Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO – Hazy Al Khalediah/F Shamaal), br. Al Khalediah Stables (Saudi Arabia), o. Al Khashab Stud (Kuwait)
Senior Female Championship
Donna Molta Bella SRA (DA Valentino – RD Fabreanna/Falcon BHF), br. Dan & Maureen Grossman (USA), o. Al Saqran Stud (Kuwait)
Tehama Ballalina (Tehama NA Sidaqa – JJ Shai Majestic Queen/Laddinn), br. Linda Ferguson (Zimbabwe), o. Al Zobair Stud (UAE
Aja Europa (Aja Justified – HB Marais/Marwan Al Shaqab), br. PP. Hickford (GB), o. Royal Cavalry of Oman
Yearling Male Championship
D Seraj (FA El Rasheem – Ladi Veronika/Versace), br/o. Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE)
Jaal Aljassimya (WH Justice – Annaiss/Ansata Nile Echo), br/o. Al Jassimya Farm (Qatar)
Mansour AM (EKS Alihandro – Abha Palma/Marwan Al Shaqab), br/o. Al Mohamadia Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Junior Male Championship
Gallardo J (Emerald J – Gomera J/Ekstern), br. Jadem Arabians (Belgium), o. Ajman Stud (UAE)
Luigi (Kanz Albidayer – Lolita/Om El Bahreyn), br. Danielle Saelens (Belgium), o. Al Shahania Stud (Qatar)
Ghazwan Aljassimya (Marwan Al Shaqab – Athina El Jamaal/Maysoun), br/o. Al Jassimya Farm (Qatar)
Senior Male Championship
EKS Alihandro (Marwan Al Shaqab – OFW Psylhouette/Padrons Psyche), br. Willie Brown (Elkasun Arabians, RPA), o. Athbah Stud (Saudi Arabia)
Sultan Al Zobara (Gazal Al Shaqab – Inra Al Shaqab/Wahag Al Shaqab), br/o. Abdullah Al Misnad (Qatar) (on lease to Al Thumama Stud, Qatar)
IM Bayard Cathare (Padrons Immage – Shamilah Bagheera/Nadir I), br. Richard Roques (Francja), o. Royal Cavalry of Oman
CR Jasmeenah (WH Justice – Fforget-Me-Not/Ffatal Attraction), br. Roy & Carole Anne Ratcliffe (GB), o. Al Jassimya Farm (Qatar)
Royal Colours (True Colours – Xtreme Wonder/The Elixir), br. Sherry & Mathew Zischkau (USA), o. Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE)