Barely Surviving Lines: Courthouse Hamdani Simri line through Safarjal

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 18th, 2009 in Egypt

Don’t ask me how this ancient line made it into the 21st century. It’s a near miracle. Lady Anne Blunt imported the Hamdani Simri mare Sobha (Wazir x Selma) from Egypt in 1891, from a certain Mahmoud Bey who got her dam from the Abbas Pascha collection. Sobha’s line was one of the most represented lines at Crabbet Stud, after Rodania’s and Dajania’s. It produced a stallion at the first generation: Seyal (Mesaoud x Sobha), despite the latter’s grey color (the Blunts were not big on greys). Lady Anne also used Sobha’s other son Antar at her Sheykh Obeyd Stud in Egypt. Seyal’s sire line is still in existence today: Seyal -> Berk -> Ribal -> Ghadaf -> Jadib -> Ibn Gulida -> Omagh -> Dib -> Huntington Doyle, a chestnut 1990 stallion I saw at the Doyle Ranch in Oregon last August. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about here.

Somra, an asil Hamdaniyah Simriyah at Crabbet Park

Somra, an asil Hamdaniyah Simriyah at Crabbet Park

Sobha had a daughter at Crabbet, Siwa (by Ahmar), who had Somra by Daoud, who had Safarjal by Berk. Safarjal was Lady Wentworth’s gift [purchased Thanks for the correction RJ] to Musgrave Clark of the Courthouse stud, which I wrote about in an earlier entry. Clark bred Safarjal to his desert-bred stallion Fedaan, and she produced Somra II. Somra II produced Siwa II by Rheoboam (by Sainfoin who was out of Safarjal x Rangha) hence doubling the Safarjal blood. Siwa II produced Selima by the Saqlawi Bahram (Sainfoin x Betina by Fedaan), for a third cross to Safarjal. Selima produced the two full sisters Sappho (1971) and Sceptre (1977), by Bleinheim, also a Saqlawi, with a fourth cross to Safarjal and a cross to another Courthouse desert-bred stallion, Nimr.

Sceptre, the younger of the two mares, was never replaced in asil breeding as her owners  refused to part with her and bred her to non-asil stallions. Somebody (not me) rightly wrote under Sappho’s page on the allbreedpedigree website: “Sappho was one of the last british bred arabians without the blood of polish part bred arabians. all her ancestors trace back to desert bred horses.” I like the straight-forward reference to “part-bred Arabians”, which is what today’s Polish horses really are.

Sappho, 1971, a Hamdaniyah Simriyah, and one of the last asil mares of Crabbet breeding in the UK

Sappho, 1971, a Hamdaniyah Simriyah, and one of the last asil mares of Crabbet breeding in the UK

Shakhs an asil Hadban stallion bred in the USA by Gleanloch Farms, and imported to the UK in 1972. His bred the mare Sappho and saved that asil Hamdani Simri line from extinction

Shakhs an asil Hadban stallion bred in the USA by Gleanloch Farms, and imported to the UK in 1972. His bred the mare Sappho and saved that asil Hamdani Simri line from extinction

Sappho’s fate was better one. She was bred once to the asil Egyptian stallion Shakhs (Morafic x Shiaa by Alaa El Din), and luckily, she got a daughter to replace her: Selmah, a 1977 grey mare. Selmah seems to have been exported to either Germany or Austria, since she produced a number of asil foals by Egpytian stallions, such as the 1987 mare Sabla, by Jamil (Madkour x Hanan), and the 1989 mare Saree by Jamil’s brother Salaa El Dine (Ansata Halim Shah x Hanan). They must have left some offspring, because such breedings are not coincidental. Both mare are recorded as bred by Mrs. Penelope Pendleton, who is certainly one lucky woman. One needs to get in touch with her to see if she is still breeding, and if possible get one filly from these precious Hamdanis.

I should add two things: first, an acknowledgment of the few preservationnist breeders who tried to obtain either Sappho or Sceptre, and do something worthy with these lines. These include Carol Monkhouse Lee and Tzviah Idan. Second, that another asil line to the Blunt’s Sobha, through *Simawa (Rustem x Sarama), still exists in the USA. More on these better known Sobha descendents another time.

68 Responses to “Barely Surviving Lines: Courthouse Hamdani Simri line through Safarjal

  1. Ralph, I agree with you. There must be some still out there.
    Meanwhile, I found a letter from 2000 from Penny Pembleton with a house address.
    14 Dyfed Housee
    Glendide Court (?) (Glenside?) Court
    Tygwyn Roaed
    Cardiff CF 235JS
    GB –S. Wales

    So go for it you UKer detectives!!!

  2. Tzviah! This is great! I’ve never had a single answer from any of the sources to whom I sent messages. And hopefully Ralph will soon have some info.

  3. I received this message five minutes ago from the British Arabian Horse Society. Regarding the other organization mentioned in the message–arabianlines–I left a message with them some weeks ago and have had no response. It would seem that Penelope Pembleton has dropped off the face of the earth….See below:

    Hi Elena
    I have tried to contact the breeder of Asil horses using the last known address and unfortunately we have had our post returned to us. We had a different name to you (not Penelope Pembleton not on our system) but due to Data Protection because they do not advertise we cannot give this name out. We do not know of any other way to contact breeder I am sorry. Maybe you ask on Arabian Lines someone might be able to help. Hope you find out.
    Regards Ros

  4. I have only negative answers,sorry..


  5. Hello,

    perhaps I can help. The mares you are looking for (Sabla, Saree etc.), I believe this is the essence of the post yes?
    They were until a few years ago (thats the last time I saw them at least), at the Stud ElShahin. The owners name was gerhard kropf. The stud was sold a year ago to the family kern. if you google vollblutaraber and fam. kern you will find the link. unfortunately, they dont have a list of horses they still have there, and I believe they sold a part of their breeding stock. But maybe you might be lucky there.

    Best Regards

  6. If you want I can call them for you… I would actually like to know what happened to the horses myself.

    I sent an email to Tzdiah Idan!

    Let me know!
    Best regards.

  7. Hi “Arab Friend” this is the best news I have heard for a while. It would be fantastic if you could call the kern family and find out about these horses. You see from this exchnge (56 responses to this blog entry) that a lot of people are interested in these horses..

  8. I will wait for your news!

  9. ArabFriend wrote me an email a few days, her name is Nadia.
    I sent it on to Ralph Suarez and to Edouard by email as I was too busy to get online on this blog. Hope you can carry the ball for me and write her back, as I’m very busy at the moment– but hopeful that some hard info on asil descendants still alive and perhaps available for sale will come of this.
    Have a beautiful day,

  10. Thanks Tzviah, I will follow up with an entry this pm.

  11. These jewels would also be the last asil line carrying the blood of Meshura!

  12. That’s right I was not actually aware of this

  13. Very interesting reading. We are very interested in hamdani simri lines but I don’t think the lines we are using are asil (Silver Fire). Sappho is represented in Australia by a grandddaughter Bint Sofia and Bint Sofia’s daughter Sinaya. (again, I don’t think these are Asil sadly) I really wish there was more information online about the Hamdani Simri’s!

  14. Hi all!
    I just wanted to let you know that the last few horses of El Shahin stud are now for closedown sale. Sadly, most of them are unpapered and not suitable for breeding 🙁
    This is the phone number of the woman who manages the sale: +43/699/19468873

  15. I was reading this with so much excitement… sad news in this last post

  16. Thank you K. How is it possible to get them papers?

  17. Have just read this blog with interest. Did anyone find asil descendants of Sappho? Was Mrs. Pembleton traced?

  18. Yes. One of them is with Laszlo Kiraly now.. in Hungary

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