The shows this season in Poland do not have an easy task. The fourth edition of the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival in Nowe Wrońska (August 18-19th) was no exception – there was a rumor spread abroad that the show would not take place and at home trainers were assured that a strong lot would come from outside the borders.
In the end we saw 91 horses on the arena (108 entries). A large number of horses did not arrive – at the last moment the training stable of Paolo Capecci, who entered several interesting horses from Dubai Stud, among others, cancelled their participation. However we could not complain about a lack of emotions, though the competition would be even more fierce had the mentioned eleven equines showed up at Nowe Wrońska.
The smaller breeders for sure could feel satisfied, due to this year’s change in the prize system. The prize awards were more evened out, with less differences in prize money between various medalists. And so 30 thousand PLN was awarded for gold medals (around 7500 euro), 20 thousand for the silver (around 5000 euro) and 10 thousand (around 2500 euro) for the bronze. There was also an additional encouragement in the form of reimbursing the entry fee for horses that placed 6th and 7th in class. The awards for the class top fives remained unchanged – 4 thousand PLN each (around 1000 euro).
The fourth edition of the Festival also became a chance to give a solemn, public farewell to the many year breeding director of Al Khalediah Poland, Władysław Guziuk, who is retiring. The 2017 Festival was a last, strong note of his work for the Saudi owner of this stud.
The most successful in the competition was Michałów Stud, who this season dominated already more than one podium. Here they won two gold medals, one silver, one bronze and a title for Best in Show. The most spectacular for Michałów Stud was the junior mares final when all three medals went to horses bred near Pińczów. The Polish private breeders received one gold, three silver and three bronze medals. Foreign owners returned home with 3 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes, with two of these horses being mares of Polish origin, born at Janów Podlaski.
Friday, day one
The first day, sunny but not hot, was favorable for the participants. As always, first to compete were the yearling and junior fillies, then the yearling colts and junior stallions. The day was closed off with 4-6 year old mares and it was a class that left no one untouched. The jury panel consisted of Irina Stigler (Russia), Ahmed Hamza (Egypt), Gideon Reisel (Holland), Tamas Rombauer (Hungary) and Fausto Scanzi (Italy). Serving as ringmaster was Waleed Al Haddadi (Saudi Arabia), while the disciplinary committee was made up of Dr. Katarzyna Szlęzak (Poland), Christine Keyser (Norway) and Gijs Eggink (Belgium).
There were seven participants each in the A and B series of the yearling fillies class. Victorious in the first series was the champion from Białka, Persia Touch SW (EKS Alihandro – Princess Touch SW/Yllen El Jamaal), owned by Nina Suskevicova from the Czech Republic (90,5) before Gaja Eunika from Chrcynno-Palace Stud (Kanz Albidayer – Gaja Selene/Emigrant) – 90,38. Another of Chrcynno’s pupils also placed second in the B series of the yearling fillies: it was Psyche Ofelia (Echo Adonis – Psyche Kreuza/Ekstern, 91,5). Chrcynno, located close to Nowe Wrońska, brought six horses to the show, out of which two ended up on the podium. Meanwhile the B series was won by another representative of Polish private breeding, one of the show’s revelations, the grey, delicate and very photogenic Kalifornia (Kahil Al Shaqab – Karbona/Ekstern), bred and owned by Krzysztof Falba (Wyszków Stud), who received 91,63 from the judges. It was during her performance that the first 20 was awarded (for movement).
In the 2 year old fillies class (11 rivals) there were Michałów’s Poganinka and Emanolla, who are going “head to head” this season, standing next to each other in every show that they take part. This time it was Poganinka (El Omari – Pentra/Poganin) who was the better of the two and with a result of 93,13 set the day’s score limit (she got 2×20 for type and 2×20 for movement). Emanolla (Vitorio TO – Emandoria/Gazal Al Shaqab) was evaluated very evenly and high (92, but without 20s) and placed second. Among the 3 year olds (7 participants) again the best proved a Michałów mare – Pontia (Equator – Polonica/Ekstern) – 93,13. And she was the only one that made the judges award a full set of top marks for movement: 4×20, not an easy feat. She received her fifth 20 for type. Second came Bambina (Kahil Al Shaqab – Bellisa/Poganin) from Janów Podlaski (92,13, including a 20 for type and movement).
And so in the junior and yearling mare category only one competitor with an owner from abroad was able to qualify for the finals. Foreign guests had better luck in the colt and stallion classes. The A series of the yearling colts (7 rivals) was decisively won by the bay Aanan Lembarak (Hadidi Al Shaqab – AJ Sundos/Marwan Al Shaqab) bred and owned by Muhammed Mubarak Abdullah Al-Sulaiti from Qatar. The judges awarded the colt with 92,5 pts. Behind him placed Białka’s Piękny Pan (Glorius Apal – Parilla/Enzo) with a score of 90,25. The B series had 5 horses and those that qualified for the finals were: owner of an impressive, sweeping trot, Ames JR (Psytadel – Altara/Gazal Al Shaqab), bred and owned by Janusz Ryżkowski (92,13, including 3×20 for movement) and Muranas ADL (Muranas Jassehr – Muranas Aleezah/Psytadel, 91,25) bred by Michaela Weidner of Germany (Murana Stud). Last year, as we recall, we watched his father who then became senior silver champion stallion.
Nine 2 year old colts entered the arena under a pleasant, unchanged (so far) weather. Victorious was the Kuwaiti Safwan Nayyar (Fayyad Al Fayyad – Starlight/Sissi) from Nayyar Stud, owned by Abdulateef Ahmed Al Kandari, with a score of 92,5, including a 20 for type and movement, before El Shaad (FA El Shawan – El Estrada/Justify), bred and owned by Małgorzata and Józef Pietrzak (92). The three year old colts class (4 rivals) was won by another representative of Polish private breeding, Petrarca (Kahil Al Shaqab – Poezja/Enzo), owned by PPH Parys (91,5), who bested Janów’s Paris, also a Kahil Al Shaqab son (out of Palmeta/Ecaho) – 91,38.
The last class played out on Friday were the 4-6 year old mares (9 participants). And it was here, at the end of the day, that a shower of 20s came, although – as it turned out the next day – it was not the culminating point of the show at Nowe Wrońska. However this short moment when all the mares presented themselves together on the show arena was definitely worthy of waiting for. The Janów-bred Adyga (Kahil Al Shaqab – Amiga/Piaff), owned by Halsdon Arabians of Shirley Watts (Great Britain) with four 20s (one for type and 3 for movement) and a final score of 92,88 set the bar high. After her performed Michałów’s star, Pustynia Kahila (Kahil Al Shaqab – Pustynna Malwa/Ekstern) and despite being awarded “only” two 20s for type, she bested Adyga with 93 points. Białka’s Perfinka (Esparto – Perfirka/Gazal Al Shaqab) placed third with 92 pts (including a 20 for type and movement).
Saturday, day two
Unfortunately, on Saturday storm clouds were gathering over Nowe Wrońska since morning and in the middle of the day, for the first time in the show’s history, it had to be stopped due to the downpour, while the crystal cups for winners filled with rainwater. Luckily there was no repeat from some dozen days ago when a strong wind tore off roofs from the tent stables and broke part of their structure. The end result was fortunately just horses and presenters being wet – but pleased with the show’s outcome. Surely the public was satisfied, because they could observe as many as ten 7 year old and above mares. Once again we were witnesses of charm, beauty, grace and femininity – all the traits we value so much in Arabian mares. Scores of 93,13 pts were awarded to two Ekstern daughters: Cenoza (out of Celna/Alegro), born in Janów, currently owned by Halsdon Arabians and the Michałów-bred Ebora (out of Eberia/Ecaho), owned by Nina Suskevicova. Cenoza (2×20 for head and neck and 2×20 for movement) won with Ebora (a 20 for type and movement each) by movement. The third (92,25, including 3×20 for movement) was another Janów-bred daughter of Ekstern, Bohema (out of Bogini/Arbil), owned by PPH Parys; fourth – the doyen of Michałów, Zagrobla (Monogramm – Zguba/Enrilo) – with a 20 for movement. A 20 was also awarded to the fifth mare in this class, Waranga (QR Marc – Wilga/Ekstern) from Michałów. The order of the last three mares was determined by movement, because they received the same final score.
Later came the time for the senior stallions – five participants performed in 4-6 year old class and as many as nine in the 7 year olds and above. The first of them brought a victory to Chrcynno’s Psyche Keret (Khidar – Psyche Victoria/Ekstern), who bested the up to then score record and received 93,38 pts – including 3×20 for type, 1×20 for head and neck and 2×20 for movement. He left his rivals far in the back, because the second was Calateon (Vitorio TO – Calatea/Ekstern) of Marek Kondrasiuk (Mark Arabians) with 91,75 pts.
In the last class the judges awarded the highest score to LVA Maximus (Espano Estopa – Challon Salana/Carmargue), bred by Virginia Brown, owned by Szeikh Hamad Khaled Al Sabah from Kuwait. The stallion received 91,88 pts, while second behind him Eternal (FS Bengali – Ewitacja/Ganges) from the stud of Głowacki Arabians got 91,75 pts (including a 20 for head and neck). Also performing in this class was Pogrom (QR Marc – Pętla/Visbaden), Polish National Champion and Best in Show from a week earlier, who this time placed fifth (91 pts).
The podium of the yearling championships saw: Persia Touch SW, Kalifornia and Gaja Eunika, whereas in the yearling colts the order was as follows: Aanan Lembarak (unanimous gold), Ames JR, Muranas ADL. Poganinka-Emanolla-Pontia are the result of the junior mare championship: three Michałów mares on the podium! The results of the junior stallions are: Safwan Al Nayyar-El Shaad-Petrarca, with the gold medalist chosen again unanimously. The senior mares saw the victory of Pustynia Kahila over Cenoza and Adyga; in the senior stallions the best proved Psyche Keret before LVA Maximus and Eternal.
The last was the selection of the Best in Show and all judges agreed that it was Pustynia Kahila.
The organizers of the Festival from Al Khalediah Poland hope that next year the show will receive an A category. All conditions for this have been fulfilled and an additional argument is that there has not been a show of this category in this part of Europe for a long time. It seems that Poland, where for years shows have been attracting the most numerous group of horses, justly deserves an A-rank event. And the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival in Nowe Wrońska, which enjoys high prestige both in Poland and abroad and praised for its organization, is exactly this kind of a show.
Sunday, day three
The race for the Al Khalediah Poland Cup, taking place during the Arabian Horse Day at Służewiec Race Track, is a part of the Festival and at the same time one of the most important events of that racing Sunday, beside of course the Europa Cup, part of the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan world series, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. The Al Khalediah Poland Cup is an international race for 4 year old and older Arabian horses over 1600 m. The prize money this year amounted to 59,500 PLN (around 15 thousand euro) and the trophy was awarded to the winner, similarly to previous years, by a member of the royal Saudi Arabian family, HRH Prince Fahad bin Khaled bin Sultan Al Saud. Eight horses in pouring rain competed for the prize – six foreign-bred stallions, one Polish and one German mare – all trained in Poland. Victorious was the British-bred SS Mothill (Nizam – Boundless/Calin du Loup), ridden and trained by Sergey Vasyutov. The horse surely (by 2 lengths) bested the French Ouzbeks du Panjshir (Darweesh – Farah du Panjshir/Dormane). Third to cross the wire was Hanouh (Munjiz – Hafia de Faust/Tidjani) representing Falborek Arabians.
For the Festival’s organizers the Arabian Horse Day at the races turned out to be very successful, as two horses from their stables triumphed in two Sunday races. Fazza Al Khalediah (Jalnar Al Khalidiah – Assma Al Khalediah/Amer), ridden by Natalia Hendzel, won the Białka Stakes, besting the favorite Dutch-bred MonMurhib Kossack (Murhib – Maringa/Niumarket); it was a fourth in a row victory of trainer Michał Borkowski’s charge. In turn Salman Al Khalediah (Dormane – Jaleeat Al Khalidiah/Tiwaiq), with Ireneusz Wójcik in the stirrups and trained by Maciej Kacprzyk, won in the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship IFAHR.