Cover Story - Vol. 49, No.4AA, Issue #10
The Rae-Dawn Ambition
by THERESA CARDAMONE
The 2018 Canadian Nationals was a continuation of an already spectacular show season for Shirley and Murray Popplewell and their Rae-Dawn Arabians. They had great Scottsdale results in February, accumulating many honors in both the open and amateur divisions there. “It’s a team effort,” Murray is eager to state. “That’s the thing that we want to express. Our goal has been to get our trainer Bruno Guiraldelli into the National arena, because that is where you pay your dues. He and his team got the horses ready. He won the Junior Fillies in Scottsdale and now he’s taken three national championships and four reserves in Canada. Bruno is young, but he has already earned his place in the group of top handlers. After all, he was the Leading Halter Trainer of national champions/reserves in 2017. You could say he’s moving forward with ‘Ambition!’”
Bey Ambition is the premiere stallion at Rae-Dawn, with a long record of success as a show horse and sire of world-class offspring. The son of Regal Actor JP and Bey Shahs Lady was bred by Lucy Whittier and has been with the Popplewells since they fell in love with him as a colt.
He earned five national championships or reserves beginning in 2009 and has become a dominant sire over the last few years. On the 2017 list of North American National Halter Leaders, Bey Ambition was the leading sire of purebreds by both number of winners and number of wins, while Murray and Shirley were honored as Overall Leading Owner (tied) and Overall Leading Breeder of winners.
“We had tremendous support from the crowd in Canada,” Murray recalls. “Shirley and I really enjoy this. We enjoy the horses, and we take them home, whether we win, lose or draw—but it’s nerve-wracking to show your sire!” The decision for Bruno to bring Bey Ambition back to the national halter arena as a 12-year-old paid off when he was named the 2018 Canadian National Champion Senior Stallion.
Bey Ambition’s reputation as a great sire for Rae-Dawn was given even more luster by his victorious offspring, who joined him in the winner’s circle in Canada. Second-generation homebred RD Beyanda, out of RD Miranda, was named the unanimous Canadian National Champion Futurity Filly while the Bey Ambition son, RD Barcello was the Reserve National Champion Futurity Gelding. The contributions of Bey Ambition to the ongoing Rae-Dawn program is apparent. His daughter RD Magic Moments produced the unanimous 2018 Canadian National Reserve Champion ABS Yearling Colt, RD Momentum and his son, RD Dynamo, sired homebred RD Luanna, a Top Ten ABS Yearling Filly.
“This is one farm, one breeding program,” says Murray. “We are so proud of our homebreds but appreciate that some of these horses were bought from other breeders. We recently got some horses in Brazil that I think are going to give Bruno another step forward. Between the three of us, Shirley, Bruno and I looked throughout Brazil for the right fillies and ended up with three. It was a team effort choosing which ones and we think we’ve taken it to a higher notch.”
Rae-Dawn scored a third 2018 Canadian national championship with Madora MI, who was bred in Australia by the world-renowned Mulawa Stud. By Allegiance MI and out of Melody MI, Madora won the title of National Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, with Bruno on the lead. The Popplewells have breeder Sam Peacemaker to thank for their 2018 Canadian National Reserve Champion Senior Mare, PCF Crystal Vision (PCF Vision x MCA Afire Beylee), who has already produced several exceptional fillies for Rae-Dawn.
Also earning accolades was the electrifying homebred RD Capriotti (Shanghai EA x Mi Morena), who Bruno showed to 2018 Canadian National Reserve Champion Futurity Colt honors. “Bruno Guiradelli is succeeding with Ambition and continuing with Capriotti!” Murray quips. Next stop for Capriotti and the rest of the Rae-Dawn show string will be the U.S. Nationals. There, they will once again compete with the best of their peers, hoping to persevere with joy, teamwork and that Rae-Dawn ‘Ambition.’