Photography by April Visel www.viselphotography.com
Strong, intelligent, full of charisma and Arabian type – that was my first impression of Royal Asad in Scottsdale this year as he powered into the international show-ring. He was dynamic, and you couldn’t draw your eyes away from him. He truly commanded the ring, and he left victorious as he was named Scottsdale International Gold Junior Champion Stallion. Owned by Royal Arabians in the United States, Royal Asad is set to become the next big thing – the world stage awaits.
It was love at first sight for Royal Arabians’ advisory staff, Rodolfo Guzzo, Travis Rice and Amanda Fraser. From the moment he was born, it was clear that Royal Asad has been destined for greatness. Bred in Brazil, the quality of this colt was immediately recognised and the team quickly got on the phone with Royal Arabians owners, Mark Davis and Cindy McGown, to secure his spot in the United States. They knew that Asad would grow to not only be the perfect outcross for the Royal Arabians own breeding programme, but also many others around the world. His bloodlines are rare and different, and they offer so much to those looking to add a new and exciting option for their mares. Sight unseen, Mark and Cindy trusted their staff and purchased Asad but they would not get to see how incredible he was until Brazilian Nationals, months later. Royal Asad took Nationals by storm. He was named unanimous National Champion and received a standing ovation on his victory lap. At that point, Cindy and Mark realised that they had a super star show horse as well as a new up and coming stallion for the Arabian breeding world.
Royal Arabians is based in Arizona and is split between three farms: one in Scottsdale, run by Brazilian trainer Guzzo and home to their halter programme; one in Mesa from where they run their breeding programme, managed by Amanda, and one in Rio Verde, home to their performance programme and overseen by Justin Cowden. Complemented by Sales Manager Travis and breeding coordinator Johnny Downing, the Royal team is close-knit and full of optimism for all that the future has to offer.
Royal was founded by Cindy and Mark, who over the past twenty years have slowly and carefully built up a beautiful breeding programme based around a carefully selected group of foundation mares. Royal Asad is the next important step in Cindy and Mark’s journey, and he is poised to become a prominent sire of note in the coming years.
Royal Asad has an incredible pedigree, and one that is under-utilised. His sire is the brilliant stallion El Tino, who comes from one of the most-loved sire lines in North America in recent years, being by the late superstar stallion DA Valentino. A multiple US National Champion, DA Valentino was sired by the great Versace (Fame VF x Precious as Gold by El Shaklan), and out of DA Love (Padrons Psyche x Magnifficaa FA by Echo Magnifficoo). El Tino’s dam brings in more of the beautiful Bey Shah (Bay el Bey x Star of Ofir by Bask) Polish bloodlines; Imprimista CF is by Bey Imprimis (Bey Shah x Audrey Rose by Aristo Kossak) and out of Fantasy Bey (Pryvatecollection x Endless Fantasy by Amurath Bandolero). There is a huge amount of Polish blood in the back of El Tino’s pedigree, and this is evident in the great power and substance that can be found in Royal Asad.
Looking to the damline of Royal Asad we have the black Brazilian National Champion Mare Lumiar Ethna, bred at the famed Haras Lumiar in Brazil. Her sire was the great, and also perhaps under-utilised, stallion RFI Maktub who tragically died just as his star was beginning to shine. Foaled in 1998, the influence of RFI Maktub is significant, and this is a sire who truly adds something to a pedigree. His sire in turn was Altam Yshmayl, sired by RSD Dark Victory (Bey Shah x Kamasi Sabaha by Khemosabi) and out of Yamina (Khivan x Melia by Brutus), a Brazilian-bred mare of Crabbet and Egyptian lines. Lumiar Ethna’s dam is Evening Star TGS, sired by the great stallion Lumiar Amadeus – also a son of RDS Dark Victory and out of CA Sabrina (Sabal x Amurath Saratoga by Amurath Baikal). Evening Star TGS’s dam is the Varian-bred Promise V. This mare was sired by one of the Varian greats, Huckleberry Bey (Bay el Bey x Taffona by Raffon) and is out of Pavane V (Khemosabi x Baycatka by Bay-Abi).
When bred together, the combination of El Tino and Lumiar Ethna resulted in a dynamic colt with a heavily Polish-influenced pedigree. Bey Shah appears six times in Royal Asad’s pedigree, while Bey el Bay – a stallion who changed the look of breeding programmes in America at that time – appears seven times. And it is also worth noting that the first three generations of this superstar pedigree are all Brazilian-bred – a noteworthy point for those looking for that little extra je ne sais quoi. All in all, there is no doubt that Royal Asad has a royal pedigree, and he has both the phenotype and genotype to prove that he combines the very best of the best.
It was Guzzo who first saw Royal Asad. For many years, he had admired the bloodlines of Lumiar Ethna and especially the influence of RFI Maktub – a stallion who had huge potential and whom Guzzo greatly admired. Indeed, the RFI Maktub son RFI Farid (ex RFI Fayara el Shiraz by Shiraz el Jamaal out of Fire Glory) stunned the world as he was named Leading Sire at the 2016 Paris World Championships, toppling the hold that Marwan al Shaqab (Gazal al Shaqab x Little Liza Fame by Fame VF) had had for soe many years, and this is a pedigree that is definitely on the rise.
Royal Asad – the show horse
Having travelled to Scottsdale, Royal Asad’s first show on American soil was the 2017 Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas. There, he commanded and was named Supreme Gold Junior Male Champion. Later that year, the Arabian Breeders’ Finals in Scottsdale beckoned and once more, Royal Asad was garlanded in Gold.
This year has seen the now three-year old colt take to the ring just once, in the Scottsdale International classes. It was here that I first saw Royal Asad, and he instantly impressed – both those outside of the ring and the judges themselves. He left with another Gold, this time Scottsdale International Junior Male Champion. Four times shown – four times Gold; quite the record!
For those who know Royal Asad well, they say that he is the perfect combination of sire and dam, effortlessly blending together. He has a huge, powerful trot and displays athleticism that is somewhat lacking among some of the modern show horses; one look at Royal Asad, however, and you know that you are looking at an Arabian, one full of power and charisma. It is enough to give you goosebumps. Add to that his huge eye, balanced limbs, amazing way of carrying himself, good length of neck, and beautiful Arabian type, and it is clear that Royal Asad is the whole package. Not only that, but he has the proven pedigree to back up his looks and personality.
Having been lightly tested on select mares as a two-year old, he had only two foals on ground: a filly out of R Arabella (by Jullyen el Jamaal out of R Bellazar by Versace) bred by Karen and Eric England, and a colt out of Cassiopeia BPA (by Odyssey SC by LC Mon Amie by Padrons Psyche), bred by Suzanne Acevedo. The filly was subsequently purchased by Royal Arabians. “She is available for viewing inspection and we promise you that you will not be disappointed,” says the Royal team. In these first two foals, Royal Asad is doing everything that Mark and Cindy hoped for. “He has produced his look with incredible refined tea cup muzzles and large black liquid eyes,” say Royal. For the 2019 breeding season, Royal Asad is once more available to a small number of chosen mares
Certainly, Royal Arabians has a breathtaking selection of mares in foal to Royal Asad for the 2019 foal crop. These include Alma HVP (Marwan al Shaqab x Foxbriar Shakita by ZT Shakfantasy), a full sister to the late FA el Shawan. Then there is Jumeriah Rose SWF (MA Shadow el Sher x SWF Desert Rose by Magnum Psyche), one of the foundation mares at Royal Arabians and already a proven broodmare for the stud. There is also a confirmed foal to Scottsdale Champion RA Princess Jamaal (by Pershahn el Jamaal by Ali Jamaal out of Perfectshahn SRA), a daughter of Royal Arabians main foundation mare, the late Maggie Mae PGA (Magnum Psyche x Rachael Ann by Bey Shah).
“We are all very excited about seeing these first foals from our future super sire,” say the Royal team. “We all have faith that Royal Asad will more than fulfil his potential, and we truly believe that he will contribute a lot to the Arabian breed. We are excited about what Royal Asad will bring to the Arabian world as a whole over the coming years.”
Indeed, there are many other breeders who also believe in Royal Arabians’ faith in this dynamic colt. Within weeks of his 2018 breeding book opening, it was sold out, and now breeders have to wait patiently for 2019. Mares bred to Royal Asad for foals in the coming year include Marmarra (Gazal al Shaqab x WC Cinderella by SH Hallmark) and GC Le Marais (Marwan al Shaqab x GC Echlectica by Echo Magnifficoo), both owned by Al Shahania Stud in Qatar. “We are delighted that some of the greatest breeders in the United States have booked breedings to Royal Asad,” say the Royal team. “These include breeders such as Robert and Dixie North, Larry Jerome, Sam Peacemaker, and Michael Byatt to name but a few.”
It is clear that the story of Royal Asad is a story that is just beginning. This is a young stallion, on the edge of greatness. His promise is a better tomorrow.