To breed the horse, to own the horse, and to show the horse. That has to be the ultimate dream for every Arabian horse breeder around the world. At last month’s European Championships, Luca Oberti, an Italian breeder and professional trainer, took a strong string of horses to compete. These included his homebred stallion, Invictus, and by the final day of the show, Invictus had made everyone’s dreams come true.
Photography unless stated by Alessio
“It is several days later, and I am still smiling,” laughs Luca as we talk the week after the European Championships in Verona. “When they called my number as Gold Champion Stallion, Rosy Brugali – my partner who bred Invictus with me – and I could just not believe it. It was a dream come true; more than that! It was everything we could ever dream of, and more.”
Even before that dramatic moment on a chilly Verona Sunday, Invictus had already been special. The birth of Invictus, in 2014, was the realisation of Luca’s dreams and his arrival into the world was the result of a life spent with Arabian horses. Having fallen in love with horses while still a child, Luca chose to follow in the footsteps of his father, Gilberto, and become an Arabian horse trainer. Since then, he has travelled the world and worked with some of the biggest names in the Arabian horse business in terms of both breeding farms and the horses themselves. But no matter how far he travels, Luca always looks forward to returning home to Dalmine in Italy, found just north-east of Milan, and to the haven that he and Rosy have created there. “My favourite thing to do when I return home is, once I have checked all the horses and other animals, and caught up with Rosy of course, is to tack up Invictus and go for a ride around the farm,” says Luca. “It is a great way to relax into being back at home, and I firmly believe that keeping a stallion in ridden work helps his mind as well. I think Invictus is proof of that!”
An iridescent chestnut, Invictus is sired by Cavalli, a US-bred son of DA Valentino (Versace x DA Love by Padrons Psyche), and out of Aspyn (Padrons Psyche x RS Ashley by Majestic Bey). His dam is the Italian-bred mare Althea, a daughter of Ajman Moniscione (WH Justice x Anthea Moniscione by Padrons Ghibli) and out of Naama della Vigna, a daughter in turn of the straight Egyptian Alaa al Din (Salaa el Dine x Ashraff by Mohafez) and out of Raissa della Vigna (Brianz Xaver x Amiranda by Algebi). This tail female line is very interesting, with its combination of Spanish and Egyptian bloodlines, and it helps account for the familiar uniqueness of Invictus. While to look at, Invictus has strong phenotype from all sides of his pedigree, combining the very best qualities of his ancestors, he is also gloriously individual, and it is this extraordinary quality that he is passing on to his foals.
From the moment he was born, Invictus impressed both Luca and Rosy. “The moment we saw him, we knew that this colt foal was the realisation of our vision, our dreams,” says Luca. “Hence we called him Invictus – a big name for a small foal, but we knew that he would grow into it, especially once we started showing him.”
Invictus first went into the ring as a two-year old colt, where he was named Gold Junior Male Champion at the Manerbio Arabian Horse European Show. The following year, he was named Gold Junior Male Champion at the Italian Nationals in Rome. As a stallion, he won his class and was named Silver Senior Male Champion at the 2019 Martina di Pietrasanta Arabian Horse Show. That same year, Invictus was named Gold Senior Male Champion at the Purosangue Arabi B Show. A Silver Italian National Senior Male Championship title followed, and this dynamic stallion ended the year as Silver European Senior Male Champion, having won his class at the show.
“We always believed that Invictus had what it took to go to the very top,” says Luca. “Having done so well at the 2019 European Championships, also in Verona, we made the decision to take him back. He is now seven-years old, and he just seems to get better and better.
“We were thrilled when he won his class on the Saturday, winning his section comfortably and with great scores. I never really get nervous before a Championship – what will be will be – but when it is your own horse, you know that it is something even more special. We went in and Invictus showed his heart out, and I knew that we could not have done anymore. Even so, when I realised we had the Gold… Samantha, that is a moment I have dreamed off all my life. I will never forget it.”
With tears and smiles from the whole Luca Oberti Arabians team, not just from Luca and Rosy themselves, this was one of the most popular wins I have seen in recent years, with well-meant good wishes coming in from all over the globe to Luca and his team.
“I am still smiling – I think I will still be smiling about this in 2022!” laughs Luca. “Rosy and I… It was such a proud moment. To have bred him, to still own him, and then to have shown him myself. This is something that we all dream of doing, and to have done this, on home soil, with the amazing Invictus, is very special indeed.”
Not only has Invictus proven himself as a world-class show horse, but he is also passing on his many qualities to his progeny. These include the two-year old bay filly AB Jana (ex VA Janette by Fahrenheitstar), bred by Benedetti Mauro in Italy and owned by Abhaa Arabians from Kuwait, who was Gold Yearling Filly Champion at the Purosangue Arabi Show and Silver Yearling Filly Champion at the Montefalco Arabian Summer Festival. Another big-winning filly is the three-year old Aretusa Delfina (ex Dafne by Windsprees Mirage), Bronze Yearling Filly Champion at the Verona Arabian Dream in 2019 for her owner/breeders Aretusa Arabians Team.
Of the colts, King Arthur (ex Andreia by Storm la Roncola), bred and owned by Soc Ag Allevamento Badia di Cartabia was Bronze Yearling Colt Champion at the 2020 Milan Arabian Horse Show. The two-year old Bucefalo (ex Jessica by Ewra by Magic mon Tresor), bred and owned by Az Agr Concari Clemar, was Bronze Futurity Colt at both the Italian Nationals and the European Championships.
Bucefalo (Invictus x Jessica) taking the Bronze Futurity Colt title
Invictus is a consistent sire, adding type and Arabian beauty as well as that flamboyance that we all love so much. Luca says: “There is always one horse that captures your heart more than others, and for me, Invictus is that one. That is why I love to ride him when I get home. There is something positive about being at one with your horse, your homebred stallion, and it is always lovely to come home to this gentle soul.”
With the Italian National anthem still ringing in their ears, it is clear that this is a moment that Luca, Rosy and the whole team will remember for many years to come. For not only was Invictus gloriously unconquerable that day, the best may still be yet to come.
Credit Luca Oberti Arabians
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As published in The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine Collectors’s Edition December 2021.