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© Diatom Graphics
RAFYK was a three-quarter brother to ROSE DIAMOND, featured in Record VIII/2; for information on RAFYK's and ROSE DIAMOND's wonderful sire AZREK see p. 20 of that issue. RAFYK was the first major stallion produced by what was to become the breed's most internationally influential female line. The difference between the pedigrees of ROSE DIAMOND and RAFYK was the replacement of KARS with HADBAN as maternal grandsire of the latter. HADBAN was a bay imported from an Indian racing stable to Crabbet, partly with the idea that he should take part in a highly promoted Arab race. The race was not a notable success and the Arab cause was further embarrassed when its winner was soundly trounced by a moderate TB in a match race. Arab racing in England took 100 years to recover from its fumbled start, but the 1884 race can claim an important contribution to breed history as it was the occasion for HADBAN's coming to Crabbet.
HADBAN: the quintessential broodmare sire
Lady Anne Blunt's manuscript stud book describes HADBAN as
"An imported bay horse, foaled in 1878, a Hadban Enzeyhi, bred by Jakin Ibn Aghil, Sheykh of the Daafini tribe of Oteybeh, from whom he was purchased by Ali Ibn Amr of Bussora and Bombay and exported to Bombay in the autumn of 1883. Purchased of Ali Ibn Amr soon after being landed at Bombay. Imported in 1884. A bright bay with three white feet, hind feet and near fore feet (mutlak al yemin) and star. Splendid head with prominent forehead (jebha), small muzzle, neck a trifle short but well placed, good shoulder, pasterns rather too long. Fine carriage of tail, fine trotter in harness, grand mover gallopping[sic]. Hadban was the sire of Nefisa, Rose of Sharon and Bitumen [this apparently written in 1885, before the arrival of the 1886 colt MAJIDI}."
He stood 14:2 and 1/2 and measured 7 and 3/4 inches below the knee, "rather over than under"- in other words measured just under 8 inches of bone.
"Hadban was sold in June 1885 to D.Mackay Esq(re) of New South Wales for 120 gs for exportation to Australia. In view of the excellence of the mares by Hadban, it is to be regretted there were so few of his stock."
Wilfrid Blunt, quoted by Peter Upton, later made a stronger statement:
"Hadban is, next to Mesaoud, the most important sire we imported, being numerously represented in the Stud Book through Rose of Sharon and Nefisa, his two best daughters and our two most valuable brood mares."
HADBAN got just four foals at Crabbet, MESAOUD had over 25 times as many; HADBAN must have been the better sire even without considering the inextricable contribution of the HADBAN daughters to the success of MESAOUD. Those incomparable matrons *ROSE OF SHARON and NEFISA produced 34 foals between them and numbered some of the breed's great progenitors among their offspring, so it is little wonder the name of HADBAN is "numerously represented" in modern pedigrees.
The hazards of travel
Lady Anne Blunt described HADBAN in India as
"a splendid horse - magnificent head - has had an accident which caused near foreleg to swell and swelling went down but left lump on fetlock joint - doubts as to possibility of training so that price came within our reach. Horse not lame now - but might not stand gallopping[sic]. Defect stands slightly back [at knees] also bone lighter than some but quality of sinews appears wiry and shape and style show perfect blood. Mazbut in the tribe... we get him very cheap... hardly over £100." The next day the Blunts "Saw our own Hadban mounted. W.[ilfrid] also got on him but found his mouth very awkward, he wants teaching, seems to have had only a reshmeh[bitless Arab bridle], looks like Jerboa when trotting but would not settle, would play. The lump on fetlock better. He has a fine temper."
The Blunts purchased three stallions in India; the other two were RATAPLAN and PROXIMO and they were shipped to England along with two other entries for the Arab race.
"On Friday evening a queer accident happened to Hadban, he got his near hind leg over the sling and also tumbled down...[it developed that] the horse had a stoppage and was in violent pain, it was frightful to see the agony. They got a syringe and so I went away, but I heard that before they could do anything to relieve him he had in his plunges got his forelegs out one in front of the other through the side bar of the box and thus hanging on had purposely banged his head from side to side against the iron hoop above as if trying to kill himself. When got out he seemed to be dying and was indeed reported dead. However, they managed to relieve him and he pulled through and was better on Sunday..."
The mind boggles at the gap in the ranks of the modern breed which would have resulted had HADBAN succumbed to the rigors of 19th century horse transport (as RATAPLAN and the younger JEROBOAM were to do in 1887 on their way to Egypt). Incidentally, RATAPLAN's purchase price in India had bee £250; his slim contribution, to Crabbet and the breed, has not justified the difference over HADBAN.
KARS and HADBAN departed together for Australia in 1885; KARS commanded the higher price (£250). He was the original Crabbet sire and had been for years a major figure in Lady Anne's life, she not unsurprisingly noted his loss more than HADBAN's in her journal:
"The central figure of the stud has disappeared; the glory of it seems to be put out with Kars absence." His companion received only the comment "Hadban going too."
Still Lady Anne came greatly to regret the sale of HADBAN after just two seasons and four foals, as reflected in later journal entries:
"This [Ashgar offered to Count Potocki by Wilfrid for £150] would be the third horse parted with in too great haste -- Pharaoh, Hadban and now Ashgar." "Perhaps Mahruss [sold to J.Hamilton Leigh] will be more valued now he is out of reach. It was so with Hadban and Merzuk, the losing of both of which -- or rather the wanton throwing away of them -- was a great misfortune, judging from the produce, alas too few, we did get of theirs."
[MERZUK and MAHRUSS II each left one breeding foal at Crabbet -- both proved influential beyond all expectation and both were out of HADBAN's daughter *ROSE OF SHARON; we will encounter RIDAA and RIJM in later chapters of her saga.]
The foundation of Australian Arabian breeding
Australia proved an important early market for the Blunts; unfortunately Australian purebred breeding was not ready for such potential foundation animals - the Australian Arabian registry was not founded until 1956, any horses which were registered up to that time being recorded in England with the Arab Horse Society. FRANCOLIN and PURPLE STOCK, KARS and HADBAN, NEJRAN (Azrek x Nefisa) and ROSE OF JERICHO were among the Crabbet Arabs to leave no descent Down Under. Dwelling on might-have-beens is generally a waste of space; fortunately there is a positive Australian breeding tradition from these early years to be recorded. Sir Jame Penn Boucaut maintained a flourishing stud at Quambi Springs, near Mt. Barker in South Australia, from 1891 to 1908 and publicized the breed through his writings. When the Boucaut horses were dispersed two successor programs took over, adding new Crabbet sires and bringing the influences of RAFYK and other Quambi founders (save ROSE OF JERICHO) down to the edge of modern times. Their names, in every possible permutation and combination, are at the back of most modern Australian pedigrees.
The Quambi Springs program was founded in 1891, when Sir James bought through is London agents the yearling RAFYK and the broodmares DAHNA and ROSE OF JERICHO. Lady Anne Blunt had noted, on returning from Egypt in 1891, her pleasure with AZREK's sons, "the beautiful colt Ahmar who exceeds my expectations. The Rose of Sharon one too. Rafyk has grown well." The Boucaut sale was recognized as a particularly important one, and every effort was made to present the best available prospects: "Rafyk...is really far the best...I still much prefer Rafyk to represent the Stud."
Ten years later Boucaut added another top young stallion, FARAOUN, a MESAOUD son who was to be the only representative in modern pedigrees of the Ali Pasha Sherif mare FULANA; and two mares perhaps of lesser distinction: NAMUSA and EL LAHR. NARGHILEH's first foal NAMUSA by Ahmar, described by Lady Anne as "small but lovely mover," had been less charitably used by Wilfrid to illustrate his thesis that first foals were undesirable to a mare's later produce; Lady Anne thought this an unwarranted generalization. Whatever NAMUSA's excuse was for standing just 13.3 - and perhaps she was less distinguished than such later NARGHILEH offspring as *NASIK and *NUREDDIN II -- she bred on in keeping with her brilliant pedigree. Small size did not stop her from founding one of the most noted families in Australia, which has achieved international recognition and still produces "lovely movers."
EL LAHR was a granddaughter of the earlier Boucaut purchased DAHNA and possessed a complicated biography. DAHNA's Crabbet daughter DINARZADE by RATAPLAN had changed hands several times in England, returning at last to Crabbet with this filly by Miss Dillon's *IMAMZADA. DINARZADE was then sold to Russia, which was to prove an even more effective sink for early Blunt breeding than Australia. Lady Anne recorded in her stud book
"Note: Miss Dillon sent with the mare a filly foal by her horse 'Imamzade
[sic; this spelling has persisted in the Australian stud book. Lady Anne seems to have had a mental block about the names of the Dillon horses, referring to El Emir consistently as Amir and to Jamrood as Jamrud]
' which foal I should much prefer not to have had, as it will have to be got rid of whatever good qualities it may possess, for these could not make up for its being half of a strain one cannot vouch for; moreover, if sold from this Stud, it will be counted as of our breeding, no matter what precautions be taken to contradict statements to that effect. A.I.N.B."
As if to illustrate the perversity of things in general, Lady Anne records in her journal a
"Discussion with W.S.B. about blunder I find in the catalogue [of the 1901 sale] where 'Dinarzade filly' is described as by Himyarite whereas Miss Dillon stated that the sire was her horse Imamzada. [In 1895 JERUD had been repurchased from Miss Dillon in foal to HIMYARITE, perhaps this had caused the confusion.] I wish the filly was not in the actual list at all but might be lead in at the end of sale (as was Barakat last year) but as it is W.S.B. now thinks our best -- indeed only -- course is to draw a red pen stroke through 'Himyarite' and write above it 'Imamzada'."
EL LAHR overcame her early vicissitudes to fund a major line in Australia -- indeed traditional Australian breeding is unique in the world Arabian community for its preponderance of the Dahman strain, owned to the DAHNA family, which includes extensive EL LAHR descent.
Quambi Springs: an eyewitness account
The balance of this RAFYK feature is based largely upon information generously supplied by Coralie Gordon. In July 1903, "The Critic," in The Advertiser, an Adelaide, South Australia newspaper, wrote:
"At Quambi Springs, near Mt. Barker, is located the famous stud of Arabian horses belonging to His Honor Sir J.P.Boucaut. In former years there were importations of Arab stallions into Australia, but these all came from India with at least a shadow of suspicion as to their purity of origin. So enthusiastic was Sir J.P.Boucaut's admiration of the Arabian horses that importation of Arab stallions for grade raising purposes did not by any means satisfy his ambition, and he determined to establish the pure breed in Australia. For this purpose he took the greatest precautions to secure none but animals of the purest race, and his importations were from the world known stud of Mr. Wilfred[sic] Blunt, of Crabbet Park, England [see Lady Anne's prophetic comments above about EL LAHR's identification with Crabbet]."
"The Critic" quoted some colorful and fairly imaginative difficulties associated with the importation of purebred Arabians from the desert: of greater interest are his wonderful photo of RAFYK and the circumstantial commentary on the Quambi Springs horses as individuals.
"The handsome Rafyk" was "a beautiful blood-red bay, he stands 14 3/4 hands high, girths 5 ft. 9 in., measures 8 1/2 in. below the knee, 20 in. on forearm, and 21 in. from pin to pin across his loin." FARAOUN was "dark brown and a different type to Rafyk. His beautiful wither could not be excelled by the best English Thoroughbred. Height 14 3/4 hands, girth 5 ft. 7 in., forearm 19 in., bone below knee 8 in., and 21 in. loin pin to pin. He is a magnificent horse."
"With him were imported the two handsome mares, Elzaba [sic] and Namusa. The dimensions of the latter are 13 3/4 hands high, 52 in. girth, 14 1/2 in. forearm, 6 1/2 in. below the knee, and 18 in. loin. Both are handsome bays and are now heavy in foal. Great interest is centered around the two matrons, Rose of Jericho and Dahna. The former, a rich blood bay...shows quality combined with substance to a marked degree...Dahna is a beautiful brown...Both are admirable specimens of brood mares. The other noteworthy Australian mares are Sherifa, Keheilet, Labadah and Sadde [sic]. Sherifa is a beautiful molded mare by Rafyk from Dahna. Twice she has been to Mr. Austin's imported stallions, Maboab [sic], and also to his latest import, Magistrate. The progeny of the latter mating is now a beautiful [mare in] foal to Faraoum [sic]. Owing to the mares being heavy in foal and in a condition more in keeping with good sense than show yard purposes, The Critic refains for the present from presenting its readers with the photos of the female portion of the stud. When surroundings are calculated to establish and maintain constitution the beneficial course does not show out stock that run all winter with the sleekness of stable-fed animals."
Another observer, the cattle-dealer A.H.Morris, wrote in a 1904 letter that "the Purebred Arab mares are a nice lot, but Rose of Jericho is quality all over."
RAFYK in pedigrees
Plainly, "Elzaba" was EL LAHR and "Faraoum," FARAOUN; no doubt "Sadde" and "Maboab" were the SAADE (Magistrate x Sherifa) and MAHBOUB (imp. India) listed as foundation animals in the Australian stud book. SAADE was bred to her grandsire RAFYK to produce MECCA; she did not leave a female line but MECCA's son KHAMASIN and grandson ZARAFA made important contributions. KEHEILET was one of ROSE OF JERICHO's lost daughters, but LABADAH (Mahboub x Sherifa) founded an extensively branched Australian line through her granddaughter DERYABAR, responsible for SENABRA, MINIFER, NUTRIF, TOU-FAIL and ELECTRIMEI, to name just a few branch founders. (Coralie Gordon writes "I am currently doing a story on a mare named DERYABAR, a great-great-granddaughter of Dahna and a very influential Australian mare, for the Australian Arabian Yearbook. The computer printout of her progeny is an inch thick!" EL LAHR and NAMUSA from the second importation also bred on with distinction through the nick with RAFYK; AL CASWA (Rafyk x El Lahr) had two fillies by KHAMASIN and both founded most extensively branched lines. This is the family of the classically-named New South Wales Department of Agriculture horses including CALISTO, CALLIOPE, MEDEA, PROMETHEUS and PSYCHE. NAMUSA's daughters were AYESHA, RABI and SEKH; the first produced the important early sire RAISULI and the other two founded major families to which belong such mares as BARADA II, HAMMAMET, MOTALGA, TARNEY, ATALANTA, YENBO, RUHEYM, YUSUF and TAFILEH, not to mention any of the distinguished sires that might be named here.
Back to The Critic:
"Sir J.P.Boucaut is justly termed the high priest of the Arabian cult. So far he has been the only one who has made a practical attempt to establish the breed of the Arab horse in Australia. That they are becoming exceedingly valuable to the Australian horse breeders is shown by the fact that in the two years of its existence the Quambi stud has made a name for itself for which it ought to be as justly proud as it is conspicuously famous. In producing the photographs, The Critic has departed from the stiff strained attitude generally depicted in illustrations, and adopted the free, easy, ordinary pose that is always more appreciated by true lovers of the Arab horse [emphasis added]. As a reward for his labors, Sir J.P.Boucaut will have the good wishes of every horse lover and every horse breeder throughout Australia."
RAFYK had already left England when the question of selling AZREK arose; Lady Anne summarized the state of the AZREK sire line and had a good word for RAFYK's grey brother who was to be named RASHAM:
"I am sorry to lose Azrek (if we do lose him) before next year, still as Shah will represent him well - having greatly improved and having quite equal style to Azrek -- I do not object to selling him now. There are several colts, the Bozra one and the Dinarzade are the best at present and besides them there are the bay Nefisa colt and the Rose of Sharon and Sherifa ones, not to mention the one of last year, Ahmar -- so that of Azrek we have Shah, Ahmar, and two first rate of this year besides three others and probably some colts will appear in 1892."
Still, Lady Anne recorded in her stud book when AZREK went to Cecil Rhodes in Africa.
"it is impossible not to feel a pang of regret at the departure of a horse such as Azrek, whose stock are so satisfactory, while the Stud remains with yet untried sires. There should be a good many worthy sires to represent him, but they are still young, the oldest a two year old."
In fact the AZREK male line as to vanish from Crabbet and from the breed; AZREK has only four sons (AHMAR, RAFYK, BEN AZREK and NEJRAN) in modern pedigrees and they bred only through daughters.