Gazal Al Shaqab
Published on Issue 1/2017 presented at the Dubai Show
Gazal Al Shaqab
A Hero. A Legend. A Icon
By Nakashen Valaitham
Robin Sharma once said that as children, we have gifts within us that could produce artistry, talents inside us that would reveal mastery and potential that just might astound humanity. I believe that a small, select group of horses are born with these "powers" too. They have used these powers to make history, transcend the records made by their forefathers and write their names in the book of legends. The living legend, Gazal Al Shaqab, is one of these horses; known to many as the stallion that just like Bask, single-handedly changed the face of the breed. This is his story, a celebration of his 21 years of life, a reflection through the eyes of this Robin Sharma quote. Gifts within us that could produce artistry...To appreciate Gazal Al Shaqab’s undeniably beautiful exterior, that when looked at either from afar or up close, sends chills down one’s spine and gives us the feeling that we are witnessing living art, we need to go back in time to 1994. It was in February of that year that Al Shaqab Stud purchased Kajora from the Gucci dispersal. However, before the purchase was made, it was renowned horseman and breeder Michael Byatt who decided to unite the genetic strengths of Anaza El Farid with Kajora; who on May 15, 1995 gave the world a priceless gift – Gazal Al Shaqab. Anaza El Farid was a straight Egyptian stallion and Egyptian Event Winner that gave Gazal Al Shaqab one of the greatest gifts a father could ever give a son in this industry – a sire line to the celebrated stallion and extraordinary producer Nazeer. If we look closely at Anaza El Farid’s pedigree, we see that he is sired by the U.S. National Champion Ruminaja Ali (Shaikh Al Badi x Bint Magidaa). His dam was the Ansata Ibn Halima daughter and aristocratic producer, Bint Deena (x Deena by Sameh), who adds a tail female line to Nazeer’s first foal, the great Dahma II.The 1982 U.S. National Champion Mare Kajora is one of the founding matriarchs of Al Shaqab and her pedigree is an extraordinary blend of powerful Polish, Crabbet and Russian influences. Kajora is sired by the iconic producer and U.S. Reserve National Champion, Kaborr (Nabor x Bint Kholameh). Her dam was the grey, multiple in hand and English pleasure champion, Edjora (Excelsjor x Edessa) who gifted Kajora, and in turn Gazal Al Shaqab, with a tail female line to the Albigowa bred Ellora – dam of U.S. National and Scottsdale Champion Stallion, El Paso. What do you get when you amalgamate the historic layers of straight Egyptian beauty found in Anaza El Farid with the solidity, athleticism and conformational excellence of Kajora’s pedigree? The answer is simple; an individual who used the genetic and conformational gifts his parents had given him to become an immaculate piece of art – to become Gazal Al Shaqab.Talents inside us that would reveal mastery...When Gazal Al Shaqab was born, everyone knew that he would be destined for ‘Arabian Horse superstardom.’ One needs to have a certain degree of natural talent to be able to put on a show, captivate judges and bring a crowd to its feet. It is that raw and authentic display of Arabian beauty that only nature can create and only few possess. It is this very talent that saw Gazal Al Shaqab’s ancestors earn countless championships and that Gazal Al Shaqab used to take over the world. His debut was at the 1996 Qatar International Show where he was named Champion Colt and through the entirety of his show career, Gazal Al Shaqab earned five titles at this show (of which three were Reserves). His first appearance in the U.S. was at the 1997 U.S. Egyptian Event where he was named Champion Colt and Reserve Supreme Champion Male. His crowning moment was at the 2001 World Championships; not only was Gazal Al Shaqab adorned with the World Champion Stallion roses, but his son, Marwan Al Shaqab was named World Champion Colt. In 2005 Gazal Al Shaqab took on the U.S., with Michael Byatt perfectly showing him to Reserve Champion Stallion at the U.S. National and Scottsdale Shows.Gazal Al Shaqab’s last European show appearance was at Menton in 2016. Although he was not competing, he was brought to be celebrated, acknowledged and respected. I was fortunate enough to be there and I will never forget it. I saw the above mentioned moment in the flesh and it took my breath away. With Giacomo Capacci at his side and his famous red, beaded Arabian halter on, Gazal Al Shaqab pranced into the arena. The light rainfall did not deter him in any way; he held his head up proudly and looked attentively at the hoards of people wanting to catch a glimpse of him. With his tail raised, he made his way around the arena. The crowd was on their feet, everyone was poking their heads around looking for a clear pathway to see Gazal Al Shaqab. All smartphones and cameras were out and the applause seemed never-ending that even the announcer could barely be heard. Gazal Al Shaqab did not have to do much to captivate me, I had my eyes on him as soon as he entered. His proud demeanour commanded respect and attention and his talent was on full display – he had clearly mastered it. Potential that just might astound humanity...For any horse, a show record holds a small percentage of their credibility and is no guarantee that they will be producers of the same note. Gazal Al Shaqab’s achievements as a breeding horse have truly astounded humanity. His ability to not only compliment but enhance the beauty offered by mares of diverse bloodlines is what propelled his meteoric ascent as a sire.It was in 1998 that Gazal Al Shaqab’s first foals were born. Even though many of those foals went on to be National champions, it was his 2000 foal crop (which was ironically his smallest to date) that heralded a new beginning and brought forth an icon. It was the year Al Shaqab’s Fame VF daughter, Little Liza Fame, gave birth to the legendary Marwan Al Shaqab. It is Marwan Al Shaqab’s incontestable beauty, near perfect stand up and awe-inspiring presence that enabled him to win titles all over the globe – three World Champion titles, two U.S. National Champion titles and two All Nations Cup Champion titles are just a few of the unparalleled collection. The influence that Marwan Al Shaqab has had on our industry is greater than we could have ever imagined possible. After all, he does come from a sire line of unbroken supremacy. Marwan Al Shaqab has sired champions in almost every continent and holds the record for producing the most World Champions, which he made unbeatable by being named the Leading Sire at the World Championships for an astounding eight consecutive years. The Marwan Al Shaqab sons Baanderos (x HB Bessolea), Marquis CAHR (x Rohara Magniffica) and QR Marc (x Swete Dreams) made history when they were consecutively awarded the title of World Champion Senior Stallion in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. History always finds a way to repeat itself and this consecutive phenomenon was once again witnessed in 2014, 2015 and 2016 when Kahil Al Shaqab (x OFW Mishaahl), Hariry Al Shaqab (x White Silkk) and EKS Alihandro (x OFW Psylhouette) unanimously took home the Gold Senior Stallion title at the World Championships respectively. The latter of these stallions, EKS Alihandro, wrote his name in the book of legends last year when he became the only horse in the history of the breed to earn three gold titles at the All Nations Cup. While EKS Alihandro was making history in Europe, it was his gorgeous brother, Aria Impresario (x GC Echlectica), who was flying the name of Marwan Al Shaqab, and in turn Gazal Al Shaqab, high in the U.S. Aria Impresario remains the only horse to ever be named Scottsdale Supreme Champion twice. And just recently, it was the phenomenal Marajj (x RGA Kouress) who was named 2016 U.S. National Champion Stallion. The Marwan Al Shaqab daughters are treasured individuals that are as equally successful as their male counterparts. Abha Palma (x Abha Ghazali), Princess Of Marwan (x Amety B), AJ Sawahi (x Siberia SA) and Star Of Marwan (x GW Natorious Star) are just a handful of the gobsmacking mares that have earned champion titles all over the world. It was Beth Ellen Hunziker who said: “Marwan Al Shaqab is the son who crowned his father as king.” Even though this might be true, there are outstanding Gazal Al Shaqab sons all over the world, perpetuating their father’s legacy to the best of their ability. In Israel, we find the ultra typey Al Ghazali AA (x The Vision HG) and all the way in South Africa, lives the flea bitten multiple National champion Georgetown (x Georgia). From the beautiful land of Austria comes the gorgeous grey Lawrence El Gazal (x Lara El Ludjin) and from Australia came Canadian Reserve National Champion, Kavalle MI (x Karess). In the U.S. resides the striking stallion who gave us the captivating chestnuts Barzan Al Shahania (x NW Siena Psyche)and Trussardi (x Precious As Gold)- Stival (x Paloma De Jamaal). And over in Brazil, at Haras Dharamsala, we find SF Veraz (x Veronica GA) - sire of Vegas and Scottsdale champions. From the land of his birth, we find two equally attractive sons, Hadidy Al Shaqab (x White Silkk) and the 2016 Silver World Champion Senior Stallion, Sultan Al Zobara (x Inra Al Shaqab). While Gazal Al Shaqab’s sons take forward his sire line of supremacy, it is his daughters that have established him as a super sire. And where better to find the greatest Gazal Al Shaqab daughters than in Poland. It was at Gazal Al Shaqab’s crowing moment at the 2001 World Championships that the then directors of the Polish State Studs, Dr. Marek Trela and Jerzy Bialobok, saw the true potential that Gazal Al Shaqab had within him. And we already know that when a stallion is chosen to stand in Poland, they are considered somewhat greater as they have been chosen to play a part in one of the industry’s most historic and iconic breeding establishments. For the two years that he stood in Poland (2002 and 2003), the Poles gave Gazal Al Shaqab their very best and in return he gave each stud a queen and so much more.At Janow Podlaski, Gazal Al Shaqab left two (among many) gems. One of these was considered to be the most beautiful mare to have ever lived. The late Pianissima (x Pianosa), aptly dubbed the ‘Queen of Janow,’ was the epitome of femininity and authentic Arabian type. She created history by being the only Arabian horse to earn the European Triple Crown both as a senior and a junior. In her lifetime, Pianissima also achieved the following titles: Twice Polish National Champion and Best In Show, U.S. National Champion Filly, Dubai International Gold Champion Mare and Al Khalediah Arabian Horse Festival Champion Mare. The other gem is the spectacular Pinga (x Pilar). Pinga is a beautiful creature who moves like a dream and, she too, has acquired an unprecedented list of achievements that include Polish National Champion and Best In Show, Gold World Champion Mare, Gold European Champion Mare, Bronze Qatar International Mare and Silver All Nations Cup Mare. Both Pinga and Pianissima culminated their show careers by being awarded the Platinum World Champion Mare in 2015 and 2013 respectively. Gazal Al Shaqab daughters from Janow Podlaski have also been sale toppers at the annual Pride Of Poland Auction; Etnologia (x Etalanta) was sold for €370 000 to Halsdon Arabians and went on to earn a Silver and Gold at the All Nations Cup and European Championships respectively. Belgica (x Belladonna) joined the Halsdon heard in 2014 after being sold for €410 000 and the Polish National Bronze Senior Mare, Alabama (x Altona) made her way to Al Thumama Stud after being sold for €165 000. Over at Michalow Stud, the Gazal Al Shaqab offspring were just as beautiful. When one mentions Michalow and Gazal Al Shaqab in one sentence, the name Emandoria (x Emanda) immediately comes to mind. If Pianissima was the ‘Queen of Janow,’ then Emandoria is the ‘Queen of Michalow.’ Emandoria is an ethereal flea bitten goddess who is recorded as the mare with most wins in the history of the breed. Some of her titles include twice Polish National Champion, twice Dubai International Gold Champion Mare, U.S. National Champion Filly, and in 2013, under the banner of Ajman Stud, she rightfully earned the title she was waiting for– European Triple Crown winner. Michalow also had some chart toppers at the auction, but it is their Bronze All Nations Cup Champion Pistoria (x Palmira) that holds the record as the highest selling Gazal Al Shaqab daughter to date; she sold for €625 000 to Al Zobair Stud. Polish National Champion Norma (x Nina) sold for €250 000 to Al Muawd Stud, who later went on to earn the Gold Champion Mare title at the PSAIAHF, Qatar International and UKIAHS. Polish National Silver Champion Mare, Ejrene (x Emocja), was sold for €440 000 to Ajman Stud and the flea bitten Eskpulsja (x Elandra) was sold for €400 000 to Halsdon Arabians. Even though Bialka State Stud does not produce the same number of foals per year as Janow and Michalow, they have also had their fair share of the ‘Gazal Al Shaqab success.’ Perfirka (x Perforacja), dam of the All Nations Cup Champion Perfinka, was sold to Cedar Ridge Arabians for €230 000 at the 2014 auction and was named Arabian Breeders Finals Gold Champion Mare. Another Gazal Al Shaqab daughter, Euspira (x Euskara) is a beautiful mare who was named Polish National Silver Champion Mare in 2016. While Gazal Al Shaqab’s Polish daughters hold a place of prominence in his important legacy, his other daughters around the globe are just as important as they have been shining bright in both the breeding barn and show ring. At Al Shaqab Stud, Enshoda Al Shaqab (x Efezja) and Gazala Al Shaqab (x Evening Starr) produced champions in the U.S. The Al Nasser-bred mare, Aleysha Al Nasser (x Aliah Al Nasser), produced the multiple Middle Eastern Champions, Al Farida Al Shaqab and Anood Al Nasser. Furthermore, the South African National Champion Starbright Bey (x C Starlite Bey) is the dam of the 2010 Scottsdale Champion Stallion EKS Bey Al Gazal. In the U.S., it was JMF Jezell (x Just Mystyle VF) that produced the 2016 All Nations Cup Bronze Champion Mare, Ghazalah Al Aayla. Magora (x Margotka) is a gorgeous Polish-bred mare from Blommerod Stud in Sweden that went on to become Gold All Nations Cup and Silver World Champion Mare. The stunning flea bitten Shariba (x Thee Rahiba) was named Brazilian National Champion, while the exceptional Gazala HBV (x TIaraa Rose) was named Silver Senior Champion Mare at the Vegas World Cup. And it was Al Shahania Stud’s ethereal Marmarra (x CInderalla WC) that was named Scottsdale International Bronze Senior Mare. The next step for Gazal Al Shaqab will be to stand in Italy once again, but this time under the care and direction of the Capecci Training Centre team. Capecci Training Centre is set in the picturesque Umbria region, also known as ‘The Green Heart of Italy;’ here lush green lands and vast acres of beauty create the perfect atmosphere for the beloved Arabian horse. Under the knowledgeable direction of Dr. Adrea Del Sero, the well organized breeding station at Capecci Training Centre will be able to ship fresh and frozen semen to discerning breeders across the globe. Esteemed horseman, Paolo Capecci will be personally responsible for caring for Gazal Al Shaqab in the best way possible, while all promotion and marketing will be entrusted to the highly professional and experienced, Giampaolo Woody. Gazal Al Shaqab is sure to feel and be treated like a king at his new home and we can be rest assured that this new chapter he is about to begin, will be nothing short of historic. Gazal Al Shaqab is a name that evokes respect, commands admiration and deserves esteem. What Gazal Al Shaqab has done as a breeding horse is what should be written down next to the word “legendary” in the dictionary; and it will for a long time be unmatched. He is the archetypal sire, show horse and overall Arabian stallion. When Gazal Al Shaqab was born, evolution chartered its course to perfection and continued to do so from one generation to next, producing unfathomable beauty and immeasurable success. It gave us the opportunity to bear witness to the epitome of ‘legendary’. Gazal Al Shaqab produced artistry, revealed mastery and astounded humanity. All in all, he revolutionized the industry and has rightfully earned the title ‘Living Legend’. His name will forever be engraved among those kings that reigned before him and it will read: Gazal Al Shaqab – A Hero. A Legend. An Icon.