The following is an excerpt from an article originally published in Arabian Horse World (March 1999).
KLASSIQUE. The name kind of says it all doesn't it? This bright bay 15 year old stallion--- Australian Reserve National Champion Futurity colt at three, Australian National Champion at five, and Ohio Buckeye Champion at his first show in four years. Then, just one year and two weeks after his arrival in the United States he received both a standing ovation from the capacity crowd and the Roses as he was crowned 1997 US National Champion Stallion. ‘International recognition at this level was certainly the stuff of dreams” says owner Quentin Naylor, “but it was also a very effective way of showcasing the complex and powerful pedigree of this stallion. There are a mere handful of stallions in Arabian show horse history to have won the titles of two important countries and who have then gone on to produce National Champions internationally.”
*KLASSSIQUE was chosen as a week old foal to form part of the foundation of a multi-stallion program which has evolved into Peregrine. The result of a mating strongly promoted by Quentin to breeder Peter Hall of Fairview Stud in Australia, *KLASSIQUE was chosen because he is an honest representative of the old Polish, Russian and Crabbett lines which form the basis of his pedigree, visibly blended with the extreme type and beauty offered by Egypt and Spain. “We both feel that a good breeding horse is always an expression of its pedigree” says Mark Wharton, Quentin’s Peregrine partner, “and this is particularly true of stallions. *KLASSIQUE was an incredible baby, very smooth and upright, beautifully sculpted and very bold and expressive, much like a tiny version of what he has become. Even at 7 days, when we first saw him *El Shaklan, Arax, and *Bask were clearly visible.
“He was the first stallion purchased for the Peregrine program. This event was soon followed by the purchase of a half interest in Ninjah el Jamaal (*Ali Jamaal x *Naharra by *El Shaklan). A yearling at the time of purchase, Ninjah el Jamaal became unanimous Brazilian National Champion Stallion just two weeks after *KLASSIQUE’s win in the US. He is a towering and beautiful gray with immense movement and presence. Then came the black bay Nami MV (Ghadames x Nama MV by Abbas Pasha), a Spanish, Courthouse and Egyptian blend with a smooth, compact body, a wonderful free way of going and immense dark eyes - but no *El Shaklan blood. We both knew pretty much how our ideal horse would look, and our separate views, although developed independently over more than twenty years of study, are remarkably similar” says Mark. “We also knew that there was no need for us to re invent the wheel, as there is a wealth of knowledge to be found in evaluating the outcomes of other programs.”
“We choose our stallions as part of a complex jigsaw puzzle, ” says Mark, “families which we already knew would blend and complimentary body styles. So *KLASSIQUE is smooth, athletic and upright, with extreme beauty, Ninjah is tall and elegant, a fairy tale horse, and Nami, sadly lost in 1992 after contributing only two fillies to the program, very complete. Not big, but compact, long necked with an excellent flat shoulder and short muscular loin and in detail very exotic and expressive. We are followers of the color typing philosophy in that certain exact color combinations come linked to certain genetic packages, *Bask and Bandola is one of the most famous examples of this, and so each stallion was chosen to represent the preferred package of characteristics which in his pedigree relates to his particular color.”
“In Bedouin lore, the mares were considered the key to production of exceptional foals and although modern genetics have somewhat de romanticized this notion, there is no doubt that it takes a superior mare to make a great stallion. Each stallion prospect for the Peregrine program was chosen not just for the quality of his sire, but as a son of a great dam. The mare who was to become *KLASSIQUE’s dam, the beautiful and charismatic bay Kreoluka (UK imp Australia) caught Quentin’s eye in the early 1980’s. “I always found her irresistible” she says. “She was so special and feminine, with this other worldly look I could not quantify and which I had not found anywhere else in the world. She was one of the mares who taught me to appreciate detail as it contributes to Arabian Type; carriage, expression of ears, neck, face, wonderful eyes - the windows to the soul - marvelous supple skin and in summer, silky, iridescent hair. For me she brought the term “living antique” to life. Her pedigree was very strong. Crosses to the immortal *Bask and his full sister Arfa, twice to the influential Polish sire *Naborr, to the great Russian broodmare sire Arax who, when crossed with Neposeda, the Queen of Tersk, produced Nasmeshnik, a half brother to US. National Top Ten Mare *Nariadnia. Her tail female line was strengthened by the presence of the extraordinary Witraz daughter Karramba, whose great beauty was in part responsible for the interest in Polish breeding worldwide and which stimulated the purchase of many great and influential horses here in the United States, including *Bask.
“I felt that this mare, who had previously always been bred back into her own pedigree, needed a genetic ”shock” to realize her full potential, the classic blend of the exotic “Saklawi” type with the structure and substance offered by this Kuhailan Mimreh mare, as practiced with such success by the Directors of the Polish State Studs of Michalow and Janow Podlavski. The problem was that I did not own the mare and all attempts to either lease or buy her had failed. Nonetheless - based on the principle that I can have whatever I want on my Wish List - my fantasy mating became Kreoluka with a very typey son of the ethereal Golden Cross of Egyptian with Straight Spanish called *El Shaklan, with a strong dam line - and that the foal be bay!” It seemed like fate that such a horse actually existed in Australia and that he be the leading sire of Australian National Champions. Amir el Shaklan is a bright chestnut with a charming personality like his late sire *El Shaklan and quite eye popping beauty. The piece that made this particular puzzle complete was Amir’s dam, Sascha. “She was one of the truly Great Ones” says Quentin. Bred by the Marbach State Stud of Germany she was bred to *El Shaklan during the British National Championships when this young soon to be superstar had just won the Junior title, and then imported to Australia. “Although she died many years ago, I can close my eyes and still see her clearly, or I can look at *KLASSIQUE and see her legacy in his huge dark eyes, incredible arched neck, superb shoulder and wither, excellent depth of girth and long, long hip. She was a tribute to Marbach State Stud’s dedication to the original Weil type and to the subtle blending of Egyptian and Polish blood.
Slow to mature, the *KLASSIQUE children are beginning to make their presence felt all over the world. So far he has National Champions in three countries in both halter and performance and State/Regional/Scottsdale Champions and winners in four - which is quite an achievement (see News/Updates).
The production of a new generation of fine Arabian horses, and the realization of a stallion’s true potential is always dependent on the mares to which he is bred. The Peregrine partners recognize that the foal is the product of a partnership between mare and stallion owner but that equally, genetics is not an exact science and whatever deity you choose must be involved! The broodmares are the focus, because they carry what the Bedouin described as “treasure chests bulging with gold”, the genes which make it possible for any stallion to produce his best foals. It goes without saying that mares from solid multi generational pedigrees have produced the best foals. Show results are not always the best rule of thumb for determining a good cross. In the case of *KLASSIQUE, pretty mares with long necks have produced pretty, elegant foals, with upright necks, great, free movement and that terrific “look at me” attitude, which sets the true show horse apart. All mares bred to *KLASSIQUE now are subject to approval, because, after 13 years of breeding with this stallion the Peregrine partners have a very good idea of what is likely to produce an exceptional outcome, equally what is likely to give an unacceptable result. “It is in everyone’s interest that we are so choosey!” says Quentin. *KLASSIQUE has produced extreme type from grays and bays, but needs beauty in the pedigree to produce extreme dish. “Liver or black chestnut has also given extraordinary results, but here in the U.S. we have found that multiple generations of good eyes are important - something we did not strike in Australia.”
Klassique has foals around the world and continues to be a Sire of Significance each year. As more and more of his foals reach that “magical” third year of maturation we expect to see more and more of them in the ring in a variety of disciplines. We look forward to a future for *KLASSIQUE in which he can cement his legacy through his foals and be looked back upon from future times as a true child of 3000 years of dedication to that wonderful creature - the Arabian Horse.
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