Cover Story - Vol.48, No.1, Issue #6
by THERESA CARDAMONE
Over the past decade, the Arabian Breeders World Cup in Las Vegas has developed into one of the most prestigious shows on the planet. It was conceived by a group of horsemen to promote and reward the efforts of those most dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the Arabian horse—the breeders. The Arabian Horse Breeders Alliance then created the AHBA Breeders Cup Award, to be presented to the entity whose homebred horses were the most dominant at the annual World Cup. After only six years in operation and with just five foal crops on the ground, the horses of Aljassimya Farm brought home the 2017 AHBA Breeders Cup Award for HE Sheikh Jassim Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
To assemble a fine collection of any commodity requires knowledge, passion, the necessary funding, and a bit of luck. But to use that collection to create next generations which surpass the original foundation takes even more skill, intuition, and commitment. In an overwhelming showing, Sheikh Jassim proved to the Arabian horse industry that he is more than a collector when his eleven homebreds won four Gold and four Silver Championships and had two class wins and seven top tens. It was a mind-blowing achievement that included several victories in classes that required the proposed breeding match-ups be revealed and approved by the show committee before the foal was even conceived.
One of the finest jewels in Sheikh Jassim’s collection is the WH Justice daughter RP Miss Surprise. She is the perfect example of the remarkable way he and Aljassimya manager Bart van Buggenhout have utilized their skills and knowledge when making breeding choices. Already the dam of 2016 World Gold Champion Junior Filly Mai Aljassimya, by FA El Rasheem, Miss Surprise produced all four of Aljassimya’s Gold Champions to the cover of three different stallions: Mounif Aljassimya, by Al Ayal AA (Auction Futurity Yearling Colt ATH); Mahienour Aljassimya, by Monther Al Nasser (Auction Futurity Two-Year-Old Filly ATH); and Maset Aljassimya (Legacy Yearling Filly ATH) and Misrah Aljassimya (Auction Futurity Two-Year-Old Colt ATH), both by Om El Bellissimo. As if that were not enough, Miss Surprise also produced Misseda Aljassimya, a top ten winner in the Arabian World Cup Yearling Filly Supreme Championship by Brandon Bey JCA. It was an unprecedented display of maternal dominance.
No less impressive are Sheikh Jassim’s Silver Champions. In addition to her title as Silver Champion Filly/Mare ATH, Sirt Al Jassimya (Monther Al Nasser x MG Saffire) was also an open class winner and top ten in the Arabian World Cup Senior Mare Supreme Championship. Juhaina Aljassimya (WH Justice x Toscana PGA) won the Arabian World Cup Junior Mare Silver Championship in a top ten field that included three of her stablemates: Mahienour Aljassimya, Jadhabah Aljassimya and Jenan Aljassimya. Arwa Aljassimya (Besson Carol x Athina El Jamaal) was named the Arabian World Cup Senior Mare Silver Supreme Champion in a fantastic final that included two other Aljassimya top ten winners, Aurora Aljassimya and the afore-mentioned Sirt; while Nadeem El Arab (WH Justice x Om El Euphoria) took home his World Cup Junior Stallion Silver Supreme Championship. With additional class wins by Thaminat Aljassimya (S.M.A.Magic One x Om El Soraya) and Misrah, and another top ten from Jaweesh Aljassimya (WH Justice x LR Valita), it becomes easy to see why Sheik Jassim and Aljassimya Farm earned the 2017 AHBA Breeders Cup Award.
The Al Thani family was further honored when the 2017 AHBA Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Sheikh Jassim’s eldest brother, His Highness the Father Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, who founded Al Shaqab Stud 25 years ago. Along with two other brothers, HH Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa (Umm Qarn Stud) and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa (Al Shahania Stud), they have expanded on the vision of their father, the late and much-missed HH The Grandfather Emir Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani, by creating some of the most successful stud farms in the world. The Al Thani family legacy now extends from the deserts of Qatar to the rolling hills of California.