One of the most enduring stallions in the British Isles has to be Ffatal Attraction. Loved by many, this incredible sire turned 30 on 6 June 2020. His progeny have won titles the world over, and his is a legacy that will live on for years to come. Bred in the US, Ffatal Attraction has called Peakland Arabians in Derbyshire, the UK, home for the past 28 years and we pay homage to this superlative stallion.
Characterful, charismatic, and potent; these few words describe Ffatal Attraction well. This is a stallion so full of life and with such a beguiling personality that once met, is never forgotten. His owner, who has had this wonderful horse in her heart and her life since 1991, is Delyth Gamlin-Brown, who says that: “I have been owned by Ffatal – and it has been an amazing experience. He is my horse of a lifetime, and the heart of my stud.”
Ffatal Attraction and Delyth after he was named British National Champion
Delyth is not the only one to have fallen under Ffatal’s spell; a host of astute breeders chose this stallion as the one to breed to, and his resulting get, and grand-get, have become horses of significance for farms and breeders across Europe and the Middle East. But how did this US-bred stallion end up in Derbyshire? And what is it that makes him so enduring to so many, myself included? It is time to celebrate this beautiful 30-year old stallion – Ffatal Attraction.
Ffatal Attraction at 30
Ffatal Attraction was bred in the US by Chris and Tim Fissori and he spent his formative first months at Om el Arab in Santa Ynez, California. Born in 1990, Ffatal Attraction is sired by the late, great Sanadik el Shaklan, himself a son of the legendary stallion El Shaklan (Shaker el Masri x Estopa by Tabal). Like his sire before him, Sanadik el Shaklan became an icon of a generation. His progeny were keenly sought the world over, and the attributes that made El Shaklan so famous were passed on through Sanadik el Shaklan. Sanadik el Shaklan’s dam was the mare, Mohena, the very first filly bred by Om el Arab. Mohena’s sire was the straight Egyptian Hadban Enzahi (Nazeer x Kamla by Sheikh el Arab) and she was out of one of Om el Arab’s imported Spanish mare, Morisca V (Tunante x Fabiola by Jalifa II).
Sanadik el Shaklan
Ffatal Attraction’s dam is the mare Falling in Love, a daughter of Kaiyoum by Khemosabi (Amerigo x Jurneeka by Fadjur) and out of Bayanka (Bay-Abi x Bachantka by Wielki Szlem); classic Polish lines. Falling in Love’s dam was Half Moon Bay, reinforcing the Bayanka blood as her dam was Bay Enchantress (Motife x Bayanka). Half Moon Bay’s sire was the Gainey stallion, Raffron (Gazon x Vadraff by Indraff). All in all, some of the most prevailing and sought-after bloodlines in the world can be found in Ffatal Attraction.
When the star of our story was nine months old, Delyth visited Om el Arab with her then husband, Mark Gamlin, and his father, Peter. “We specifically went to Om el Arab to look for a filly,” Delyth recalls. “Upon seeing Ffatal, an almost-black weanling colt, both Mark and Peter immediately saw his potential, and I was captivated. For me, the first thing I noticed was his soulful eye, set in an amazing head. Even at that young age, his neck had a wonderful, natural set and curve to it, while his body was smooth and his tail high set. However, Ffatal was not for sale, so we put him in the back of our minds.
Ffatal as a foal at Om El Arab
“Meanwhile, the filly we looked at was another sired by Sanadik el Shaklan and also, coincidentally, out of a Kaiyoum daughter, in this case De la Reina (Bay el Bey x Sadal Melik by Sirius). The filly in question was one Om el Sanadiva. She captivated us but she had damaged her eye so we decided not to have her. Her history is well known; Ralf Heckenbecker purchased her, and she became World Champion; I often wonder what would have happened if we had bought her instead!”
Fast-forward another nine months, to the Paris World Championships in 1991, and Delyth and Mark discovered that Ffatal Attraction was now for sale. “The price they wanted was prohibitive,” Delyth recalls. “So once again, time slipped by. At the end of the following January, in 1992, Deidre Hyde called me. She had literally just been at Om el Arab and rang me to tell me to buy the colt. Mark and I had just got married and money was tight, as you can imagine, but my dad, Trevor, kindly helped us out and so it was that Ffatal became ours.
“If Deirdre hadn’t pushed us, then Ffatal may not have ended up here in the UK, but she did and for that I will be forever grateful. He arrived here in March 1992, and the impact that he has had on all our lives since has been huge.”
Ffatal the show horse
Now two-years old, Ffatal Attraction hit the ground running, winning at the first shows he went to. At Fontainebleau, he immediately qualified for the 1992 Paris World Championships, where he would later go World Top Ten. As a three-year old, Ffatal won at the British Nationals and the UK International, was second at the All Nations’ Cup in Aachen and placed third at the Paris World Championships.
“Then, it was time for Ffatal to start his stud duties,” recalls Mark. “He was very popular as he offered correct conformation, excellent limbs, an extreme head and an impressive, set-on neck, as well as a topline that was strong and level, with a good hip and superb paces.”
A young Ffatal in the show-ring
It was in 1999, when Ffatal was nine-years old, that renowned international trainer Johanna Ullström contacted Delyth to see whether he could be leased to the late Jörgen and Britt Olsson of Oppreva Arabians in Sweden. Now divorced, and with Ffatal staying with Delyth, she agreed and Ffatal went to Sweden for two seasons, during which time he covered nearly fifty mares. He was also shown in Sweden and was awarded highest points at the Swedish Stallion licensing.
Britt recalls: “Jörgen and I had the great opportunity to lease Ffatal Attraction over a two-year period from Delyth. We had great hope Ffatal would cross well with our pure Polish mares at Oppreva as well as with outside mares, where the majority were of Polish lines. He sure did! Ffatal made a great impact on Swedish Arabian breeding, siring around 50 offspring including two Swedish National Champions and numerous class winners. This success continued in the second and third generations, especially as the Ffatal daughters have been extremely good producers.
Ffatal Attraction in Sweden
“As well as being a beautiful and typey stallion, Ffatal Attraction has a lovely disposition and was a joy to be around. We were very fortunate to have had Ffatal at Oppreva.”
Delyth continues the story, saying: “In 2002, Ffatal returned to Peakland Arabians and, aged fourteen years, he had his swansong in the show-ring as he won his class at the British National Championships. Ffatal went on to be named British National Champion Stallion. His son, Ffoenix stood Reserve British National Champion Stallion, the first and only time that a father and son have taken the double. On the same day, his daughter Ffemme Ffatal (ex Khylie by Nazdrowie out of Kaminah by Nijamin) was named Junior Female Swedish National Champion while his son, Don Bull (ex Doda by Endel out of Dekada by Eternit) was Reserve Junior Male Swedish National Champion. It was an amazing day for Ffatal and his children!
Ffoenix as a mature stallion
“With nothing left to prove – and with Ffatal not being a fan of the show-ring – we retired our boy from showing so that he could enjoy life as a happy, healthy horse and home, and focus on breeding.”
Part of the beauty of Ffatal Attraction is that he nicked so well with so many different bloodlines – and also had several wives who returned to him on a regular basis. Many of these mares have gone on to have progeny that have influenced the world – double World Champion CR Jasmeenah being a case in point. But there are a great many Ffatal Attraction get and grand-get out there who have shone as the perfect ridden gelding, the perfect dam of champions, and the perfect stepping stone to help someone achieve their dreams.
One mare who was the pride of Peakland Arabians, and produced a son and daughter by Ffatal Attraction, was the great Ass Windi. Herself a daughter of Gonchar (Menes x Nametka by Moment) and out of the great mare, Saskia RJ (Plakat x Barwna by Iridos), Ass Windi’s heritage of Russian, Crabbet and Polish lines proved to be a potent cross with a number of stallions – Ffatal included. The first Ass Windi foal was Ffinali, now a gelding, born in 2004 and two years later, his sister Ffaria arrived. Both were later sold to Delyth’s close friend, Louisa Biles, and they have all enjoyed much success. Ffinali has had an excellent show career, both in-hand and under saddle, and was named European Champion Gelding. While Delyth admits that she perhaps shouldn’t have sold Ffaria – but was pregnant with her youngest son, Joe, at the time – she was delighted when she had the opportunity to purchase Ffaria’s daughter, Faiqah, from Louisa to continue this family line. “Faiqah is by the late Bedawi Al Rayyan (Safir Al Rayyan x Al Mansoura Al Rayyan by Alidaar), a perfect cross as I am a very big fan of Egyptian bloodlines,” explains Delyth. “I really do like this line, and I am happy to have the Ffatal/Ass Windi line back in my programme – even if it is only for my own pleasure.” Ffaria is an exciting broodmare always producing consistently, and her progeny are always typey and always movers. “We watch with much anticipation towards the young mare Farasha Aljassimya (by Aja Angelo by WH Justice out of Aja Aaisha) and what chapter she will create for herself,” says Delyth.
The great producer, Ass Windi
Ass Windi, of course, was also the dam of the 2002 mare Athenaa (by Ashaal al Rayyan by Safir out of Ansata Majesta), now owned by Al Khalediah Stables in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And then there is the beautiful Annaiss, a nine-year old mare sired by Ansata Nile Echo (Ansata Hejazi x Ansata White Nile by Prince Fa Moniet), now owned by Aljassimya Farm of Qatar and living in the Santa Ynez Valley in California, USA. Both of these mares were bred by Delyth, underlining her place in UK history as one of the great breeders of the past 25 years or so.
Louisa is a huge fan of Ffatal Attraction lines, and she owned Fferzan (Ffatal Attraction x BNC Fazleta by Gai Gaspacho), whose titles include European Champion Gelding. Her father also owns Darcy (Om el Mareikh x Ffiligree by Ffatal Attraction by Zarena), bred by Sue Wilkes and also a British National Champion and European Champion Gelding. Meanwhile, her sister Penny had much success with Valais (Ffatal Attraction x Vataga by Gordon). All three boys have done exceptionally well under saddle as well as in-hand, and Fferzan and Darcy were regular features at the European Championships – always so lovely to see.
Another of Delyth’s mares who was very influential through her Ffatal Attraction daughter was the lovely A Little Tenderness (Crusader x Bint el Sanaa by The Egyptian Prince), who sadly passed away suddenly in 2014. Not a natural dam, A Little Tenderness rejected all her foals, of which the Ffatal daughter, Taffetta, was the first. Taffetta survived her difficult start in life, which included her dam having stress-induced colic when the filly was just three-days old, and went on to foal two fillies for Delyth. The first of these was Bahnoffee (by Om el Bahreyn by CG Balih el Jamaal out of Om el Benedict), foaled in 2004. Then, the following year, A Little Tenderness foaled Zahkira (by GR Amaretto by Classic Shadwan out of Halim’s Asmara). The latter enjoys a very successful endurance career with Linda Herriot. Bahnoffee has given Delyth her fourth generation with daughters Bahseema (by Bedawi al Rayyan) and Brianna (by Ruger AMW by Tallyen el Jamaal out of HE Jiajna). As Peakland Arabians winds down, Bahnoffee, Bahseema and Brianna will enjoy their days at in the beautiful Derbyshire hills.
A Little Tenderness
Bahseema with Preston the dog
Ffatal Attraction was also the sire of Ffaberge, out of the Tersk-bred mare, Barmensha (Mukomol x Buhta by Antey). Born in 1997, Ffaberge produced three foals for Delyth: the mares Atiffaa (by Assad by Ansata Halim Shah out of Arussa) and Maggie Mae (by GR Amaretto), and then the stallion Shaafiq (by Ansata el Salaam by Ansata Ibn Shah out of Ansata Samantha). Completing this part of the family tree, Ffaberge had a full brother, Fferrari, a British National Champion Futurity Gelding now owned by Penny Thornton.
One mare that is very much part of Peakland Arabians’ history was the ethereally beautiful Fforget Me Not, bred by Mark and then sold to Carol and Roy Ratcliffe. Sired by Ffatal and out of the great-producing mare, British National Champion Nouvelle (Najman x Flambelle by Silver Flame), Fforget Me Not was from the same foal crop as Ffoenix and Fferzan. Fforget Me Not was a classic Ffatal daughter who enjoyed early success in the show-ring, including winning the British National Championships. Her greatest glory, however, came as being dam to the universally-loved mare, CR Jasmeenah (by WH Justice by Magnum Psyche out of Vona Sher-Renea). Bred by Carol and Roy, CR Jasmeenah is now owned by Aljassimya Farm and with them, she has been named both a Gold and Platinum World Champion Mare, as well as US National Champion Mare among her many titles. “To know that she is a Ffatal granddaughter, and is extending the legacy of my boy across the world, is just amazing,” smiles Delyth.
Fforget me not
Aljassimya also owns Fforget Me Not’s full sister, MG Saffire, also bred by Mark. MG Saffire has been a consistently good producer for the farm, and her progeny continue to shine in the show-ring. Her daughters Sapphire Aljassimya and Sirt Aljassimya both winners in Las Vegas and Scottsdale. Knowing that Ffatal still has family winning major titles is testimony to his influence as a sire. In 2018, his great-grand daughter Selena Aljassimya (Emphasis DDA x Sapphire Aljassimya) won her yearling class at Scottsdale.
Not to be outdone Ffatal and Nouvelle also produced two spectacular sons. The first of these was Ffiction, who inherited his dam’s attitude to life and went on to be British National Champion, Saudi Champion and a winner in Aachen. His younger brother Ffalcon, owned by Lisa and Darron Carter, also enjoyed All Nations’ Cup success as well as winning Towerlands and becoming Italian National Champion. Ffalcon now enjoys a dressage career.
The 1989 mare Alysia, by Edykt (Eukaliptus x Elana by Elf) and out of Lilac Shadow (White Lightning x Velvet Shadow by Bey Shadow), proved to be a great nik with Ffatal Attraction. Her 1999 son, Ffoenix, stood Reserve British National Champion to his sire at the 2004 British National Championships – a feat that has never been repeated. On the same day, his Scandinavian son Don Bull (ex Doda by Endel) was crowned Swedish National Junior Champion and his daughter JB Ffemme Ffatale (ex Walixa by Fax) was Reserve Junior Female Swedish National Champion; what a day! Alysia also produced the beautiful 1994 multiple-champion mare and Aachen winning mare Fflirtation, owned by Glenys Allen, and then their other full siblings, the 1995 Tempting Ffatal and the 1997 Ffortune. Both were Reserve British National Champion, and Ffortune is now enjoying a great career in endurance.
JB Ffemme Ffatale
Ffatal’s Scandinavian family have proved their worth from show-ring champions including International and National Champion from the Blommeröd Stud Rezeda (ex Regina by Probat). From the National Champions Don Bull and JB Ffemme Ffatale to the many pleasure horses who compete in ridden, western, dressage, cross-country, endurance, show jumping. There was even a race winner in Schicago!
In the UK, Caroline Reid bred the Ffatal daughter Ffemme (ex Khylie by Nazdrowie) to her then-stallion, Aja Shakakhan (FS Bengali x G Shyamasri by Ibn Estopa) to produce AV Kubla Khan. In 2014, this superb bay was awarded the coveted WAHO trophy at the British National Championships. He has enjoyed dressage, cross-country, show jumping and even dabbled in a little side saddle with his owner Jess Amess. Ffatal has also produced a new star in endurance, Olympic Spirit (Sempers Spirit x Inffatuation by Ffatal Attraction). Bred by Darron Carter, this super horse is owned by Ally Sole and is being produced by her daughter, Amber.
AV Kubla Khan
One stallion of note is Sharahm, by Gharam (Ffatal Attraction x Gemini) and out of Sorella (Wadim x Szansa). Bred in Sweden by S and G Paus, and owned by GT Arabians, also of Sweden, this look-alike Ffatal grandson has enjoyed much success in the show-ring over the years, including Gold Senior Male Champion at the Scandinavian Open Championships 2017 and Bronze Senior Male Champion at Ströhen International B Show in 2015. Moreover, Sharahm is siring incredible foals that ooze Arabian type and quality. At just 12-years old, this is a stallion to watch.
“For the future, we look to the exquisite horses gracing Aljassimya through CR Jasmeenah and MG Saffire, as well as Farasha Aljassimya, the grandchildren, the great-grandchildren,” says Delyth. “But there are also a great many Ffatal get and grandget here who are also producing so well. He really has done a wonderful job as a sire.”
As ever with these pieces, it is impossible to mention everyone and I apologise for those left out.
I ask Delyth what it was that captivated her so much when she first saw Ffatal Attraction. She pauses, then answers: “Straight away, it was his eye. He has a really soulful eye, which is set in an amazing head. His neck has a wonderful, natural set and curve, and his body is smooth and his tail high set. As time went on and we began to breed him, it was the quality and consistency of his foals that continued to inspire me on an annual basis. Ffatal babies all have his incredible temperament, as well as the Arabian type, structure and movement that is so important. With such a solid foundation, I guess that it is little wonder that Ffatal progeny have excelled not only in the halter ring, but also under saddle and in endurance. His get and grandget have won the world over but to me, he remains my fleabitten grey boy, my horse of a lifetime and a true one in a million.
“I take each day with my horses as a blessing, especially my days with Ffatal. I am privileged that he found me and hope that I have made his life as enjoyable as possible. Quite simply, I adore him and I treasure the precious moments that we have spent together, and the times still to come with him.”
Mark Gamlin on Ffatal
I first met Ffatal when I we visited Om El Arab in 1990. He was a dark black grey that filled your eye. He was so typey, so smart, and had this look that was difficult to ignore.
As he grew up, Ffatal never seemed to go through an awkward stage. He was always willing to give a great show, and he had lots of charisma that he passed on to most of his foals.
Ffatal was not only a great horse but had the temperament to match. All those who came in contact with him loved him. His classic Arabian look was timeless, but it was in the breeding bran where he would make the biggest impression.
We had a wide variety of mares in the UK from many, many different bloodlines and it takes a great horse to improve on nearly everything that he covers and Ffatal regularly did so. It was unbelievable – it didn’t matter whether the mare had Polish, Egyptian, Russian or Crabbet blood, he sired champions from all these lines. He had fabulous sons that have won all over the world, while his daughters and granddaughters have won at nearly every major show in Europe and the USA.
For me, there was one cross that probably surpassed all the rest – Ffatal Attraction with Nouvelle, as covered in this article.
My dad, Peter, recalls that he was always impressed by Ffatal’s type and topline, which we are losing. While Jay Constanti saw Ffatal again in Belgium when the stallion was 14 and commented: “I have not see a topline on a horse like that in years. I can see why he bred so well.”
My greatest memory of this wonderful horse is what he did at age 14 when he was named British National Champion Stallion, with his son, Ffoenix, Reserve. It was an awesome experience, with dad on the end of Ffoenix and me with Ffatal; fathers and sons together. It was a time I will never forget.
For me, Ffatal Attraction will always be the horse that Delyth told me to have a look at in Om El Arab. He was the colt who stole my heart.
First published in The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine November 2018 – Volume II Issue III