Early October saw me fly off to Casablanca in Morocco – a place of mystery that has intrigued people for centuries. My destination was El Jadida, a port city on the Atlantic Coast and home to the very grand Salon du Cheval d’El Jadida.
This month saw the ninth running of this prestigious event, which is also home to the International Arabian Horse A Show. This Salon du Cheval itself is a huge horse exposition – think along the lines of the Paris World Championships and surrounding events – and it is held within the vast Parc d’Expositions King Mohamed VI.
With horses competing from across Europe and the Middle East, as well as many of Morocco’s own wonderful homebreds, including those from Haras Royal Bouznika, the King’s own stables, there is much to credit about this show and the quality of horses there.
Judging this year’s event were Anna Stojanowska (Poland); Cristina Valdes y Colon de Carvajal (Spain); Deidre Hyde (UAE); Ali Shaarawi (Egypt); Jürgen Muller (Germany); and Mohamed Oussidhoum (Morocco).
The first class was for yearling fillies and was very close in terms of points, with just 1.5 points separating third and sixth. The win went to Athena Salmane (BA Manssour x Aithana), a feminine and showy grey owned and bred by Bennani Smires Abdeslam of Morocco. Her score of 449 points put her comfortably into the lead. Taking second place with 448 points was to Haras Royal Bouznika’s Ghinoua Bouznika (Anouar Bouznika x Marjana Bouznika), a pretty dark grey filly. Third place in this opening class went to Longayria des Aubues (Mystic Immage x Samoa des Aubues), bred by Katell Lucas and owned by Aboukhadija Abdelmajid. This chestnut filly scored 445 points.
|Sultanat Al Shaqab took the Bronze Junior Female Championship. She is photographed here in Menton. Credit Erwin Escher|
The two-year-old filly class was small but had a superstar from Qatar competing. This was Sultanat Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl), owned and bred by Al Shaqab Stud. She commanded the class from the moment that she entered the ring and received a huge score of 452.5 points to take the win in style. Second place went to the Shanghai EA daughter, Ibar Exotic Star (ex Abha Katmandou). Owned by Donna Rossana Eulalia Livicota Sanchez of Spain, she was bred by Ganaderia Enrique Mardars Alberdi, and Ibar Exotic Star scored 442 points. Third place in this lovely class, with a score of 438.5 horses, went to the pretty chestnut Ciao Bella MA (Ajman Moniscione x Kinshasa), bred in France by Patricia Maffre and Veronique Chabbert and owned by Aboukhadija Abdelmajid of Morocco.
The very flamboyant and showy chestnut filly Farah Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x SWF Valencia) won the highly competitive three-year-old filly class in some style. This beautiful filly, owned and bred by Al Shaqab Stud, scored highly with 454.5 pointsto take the win. In second place was the exotic and feminine filly Pearl de Djoon, sired by Abha Qatar and out of Psymphonie. Bred by Haras de Djoonam, she is owned by Mmes Pinchinat of France. She scored 452.5 points. Taking third place in this strong class was the very showy Kamar de Dream (Imperial Bisaam x Dahmraks Monassabah). Owned and bred by Mgharfaoui Mohamed, this grey filly scored 449.5 points.
|Farah Al Shaqab was Gold Junior Female Champion. She is seen here at home in Qatar. Credit Sweet Photography.|
The four-to-six-year-old mare class was won by the very pretty and lovely moving Pervinkasettimocielo with a score of 453 points. Sired by Ajman Moniscione, this five-year-old bay is out of Elgiria. Bred in Italy by Maria Ferraroni, this very showy mare is owned by Mamoun Tarik. The pretty grey Volodia de Lafon (Shanghai EA x Vassilia), bred by Mas de Lafon and owned by Aboukhadija Abdelmajid, took second place with 451 points. Shanghai EA was also the sire of the third-placed mare. This was MZ OA Sham Sabbah (ex Avalon Trinity), bred by Cecile Forest and Tzen Monzen, who scored 450 points.
|Gold Senior Female Champion Venetzia, captured in 2013. Credit Erwin Escher.|
There was great excitement in the seven-to-twelve-year-old mare class as the multiple-champion Venetzia took to the ring for Al Shaqab Stud. Many expected this exotic 12-year-old mare to win but she was pipped to the top spot by half a point. Instead, the winner’s rosette went to the very feminine and pretty mare, FM Nefertari (BS Specific x Resaca), bred by Christina Martinez and owned by Abdul Hadi Manaa Abdul Hadi Al Hajri of Qatar. She scored 452.5 points to finish half a point ahead of Venetzia. Sired by Versace and out of Giavanna, this chestnut mare flew into the area on her first entrance. She finished comfortably ahead of the Polish mare Eteria (Ekstern x Etezja), who took third place. With an almost perfect score for movement, Eteria, bred at Janów Podlaski in Poland and owned by Mohamed Baati, earned 450 points from the judges.
Following the lunch break, it was time for the class for mares aged 13 years and over. The winner here was the lovely grey mare, Estrelia (Pamir x Esteria), also bred in Poland, this time at the Białka Stud. She scored 446 points to take the win for Taher Baati. In second place with 443 points was Diva J (Extreme x OKW Anastasja), bred by Jadem Arabians and owned by Aboukhadija Abdelmajid. Third place in this class went to Abha Katmandou (El Perfecto x Abha Yamir), bred, owned and shown by Don Emilio Carriedo Palacio. This bay mare – dam of the second-placed two-year-old filly from the morning classes – scored 441.5 points to secure her placing.
Next were the colt classes, starting with the yearlings. The stand out horse was Killar de Gacia (Aria Tresor IA x Estalia), bred and owned by Michel Combette of France. This dark bay colt has the potential to grow into something special, and he flew into the arena to score 448 points. Taking second place was the lovely grey TS Apolo son, Gharam Bouznika (ex Om El Jeania), bred and owned by Haras Royal Bouznika, with 445.5 points. Third place in this class went to Ozira Nadym (Shanghai EA x Nusaibah), bred by Cecile Forest and owned with Mathieu Miloux, with a score of 444 points.
|Killar de Gacia, winner yearling colt class. Credit Myriam Chatton.|
Haras Royal Bouznika won the two-year-old class with their homebred grey colt, Fattan Bouznika, sired once more by TS Apolo and out of Marjana Bouznika. This young colt has something about him, and he scored well with 447.5 points. Taking second place was Jawen Aslal (ZT Marwteyn x Just Adore), a bay colt reminiscent of his sire in many ways, with a score of 445 points. This French-bred colt is owned and bred by Mr and Mrs Chatton. Third place in this class went to Feras Athbah, bred by Haras Athbah and owned by Qaisse Aicha. Sired by EKS Alihandro and out of Afrodite K, this bay colt was a good combination of both bloodlines, and he scored 442.5 points.
The last class of the day was the three-year-old colt class and this was won by eye-catching Rashmag des Aubus (Rafahag x Shamilah Wassima). With a strong score of 450 points, this pretty chestnut colt was bred by Katell Lucas and is owned by Aboukhadija Abdelmajid. Just one point behind were two colts, both tying for second place. However, the higher place with the higher type score went to Slatan de Lafon (Shanghai EA x Vassilia), again owned by Aboukhadija Abdelmajid but bred by Mas de Lafon. Settling for third was the good-moving Double Clic Sanpietro (AJ Sanpietrio x TS Jasmyne), bred and owned by Etienne Miloux from France.
Thursday morning began with the stallion classes, and due to non-appearing buses, we missed most of the first two classes, which was a shame.
Winning the first class for stallions aged four-to-six years was Lammah Athbah (Aja Justified x Parmana), bred by Haras Athbah and owned by Haras Royal Bouznika of Morocco. A superb bay, Lammah Athbah won with 452 points, just half a point ahead of his nearest rival. In second was another good stallion, the US-bred Aria Tresor IA (Brixx IA x Enzos Passion IA), bred by Richard deWalt and owned by Jerome Cararyon of France, who was very like his sire. In third place with 449.5 points was Mystic Eternity SA (Valerio Ibn Eternity x Mystic Angel), bred by Christel Catarin and owned by Mehdi Khoudri.
On to the class for stallions aged seven-to-twelve years and the big-moving Galinka Conquestador (Psyrasic x Galinka de la Rouge) took the win with 447.5 points. He was bred by Selimah Arabians and is owned by Tarik Mamoun. In second place with 447 points was Justy de Briera (WH Justice x Pineda), bred by Briel Herve and owned by Youssef Manaf. One point behind in third place was Wazeer Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x Hanouf Al Shaqab), bred by Abdul Hadi Hadi Manaa Abdul Hadi Al Hajri and owned by Abdul Hadi Manaa Abdul Hadi Al Hajri.
The senior stallion class for horses aged 13 years and over had just three entries, but on the whole, they were lovely older representatives of the breed. Taking the win with 449 points was Esta Esplanan (AS Nastir Apal x Eskarta), bred by GC van Dooren and owned by Michel Combette. This 18-year-old stallion was very much of the older style and he looked lovely. In second place with 447 points – including a 20 for movement – was Sandhiran (Sanadik El Shaklan x China Moon), bred in the US by Doug Dahmen and owned by Bennani Smires Abdeslam. Sandhiran was the oldest horse in the show, at 19 years, and he has still got the movement that he was so well known for – see my brief video below. Third place went to Hadji (Motamid 1972 x Braken) with 434.5 points, bred by Ganaderia Jaqueline Vandyke and owned by Sixto Carreido Palacio of Spain.