Cover Story - Vol. 50, No.3, Issue #8
*SM Azraff: The Return Of The King
by THERESA CARDAMONE
It has been said that etched into the sand-scrubbed cliffs and dancing upon the walls of caves hidden in the vast deserts of the Arabian Peninsula can be found illustrations of the horses that evolved there alongside the native people. Their high-set tails, elegant necks, and refined, dished heads—depicted thousands of years ago—accurately predicted the silhouette of the contemporary purebred Arabian horse.
When *SM Azraff steps into view, it is as if those ancient images have indeed come alive. His regal bearing and elegance punctuate his exceptional conformation. A deep mahogany bay stallion, *Azraff is the crown jewel of Al Nayfat Stud. Located not far from Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al Nayfat is a combination of modern facilities and traditional practices. Under the management of Sheikh Naif Al Mubarak, the farm continues to evolve through the prudent selection of breeding and show stock from around the globe.
*SM Azraff is a son of Faraa Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x GW Natorious Star) and LC Psychesfinesse (Padrons Psyche x Bey Raffinesse). Bred in Argentina at George and Debbie Stuart Milne’s Haras Maalesh, who also produced the Argentine National Champion Mare, SM Miss Finesse, *Azraff has been under the expert care and direction of David Boggs at Midwest Training Centre since his importation to the United States in 2016, and the pair are undefeated in America’s most important show arenas. After a brilliant, unanimous victory as the 2017 Scottsdale Gold Champion Senior Stallion in his American debut, *Azraff culminated the year by being crowned the United States National Champion Junior Stallion—once again by unanimous vote of the judges.
Boggs has been excited about *Azraff ever since he first laid eyes on him in Argentina. “He is truly magnificent in every way,” he states with great enthusiasm. “He is now the perfect choice for Al Nayfat as a chief breeding stallion and as a show horse representing the Kingdom. His historic pedigree is amazing and shows the strong influence of Bey Shah and *Bask layered on both sides. *Azraff is really well-made with a great shoulder and neck, which is very important in the Al Nayfat breeding program.”
A tour through the Midwest website shows the stunning results of *Azraff’s blooming career as a breeding stallion. One after the other, his foals are created in the image of their sire: correct, balanced, and beautiful, with bounding motion and championship, show-stopping charisma. *Azraff stands at stud at Midwest’s Scottsdale facility while he remains in show training, with frozen semen being sent to the farm in Saudi Arabia to further their breeding program.
As for that show career, the next stop will be Tulsa, Oklahoma, where *Azraff will vie for the title of 2019 United States National Champion Senior Stallion. “This stallion is very special to me and claims a piece of my heart,” shares Boggs. “He is as close to perfect as they get, and I am honored to once again present him on behalf of Al Nayfat Stud. Enthusiasts of the Arabian breed simply enjoy the magic of this incredible horse and, come October, inshallah, those fans will be cheering *SM Azraff as he makes his victory pass, festooned with the roses of his next United States national championship.”