SHAYKH AL-ARAB: a chestnut desert-bred Asil stallion [photo available]; the owner of Shaykh al-‘Arab was the shaykh of the Gumassah subtribe of Sba’ah, Rakan ibn Mirshid (this is most probably the reason why the horse was named “the Shaykh of the Arabs”).
Strain: ‘Ubayyan Sharrak of the horses of al-Usayli’;
Sire: a desert-bred Ma’naghi Sbayli of Awdah al-Mis’ir [some sources say the sire of Shayk al-‘Arab was a Kuhaylan Nowak, cf. the Syrian Studbook];
Dam: a desert-bred ‘Ubayyah Sharrakiyah of the Sba’ah tribe;
Racing and Breeding Career: Shaykh al-‘Arab was one of the best horses who ever came to the Hippodrome de Beyrouth and was bought by the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture to be used for breeding; at one time in the seventies, most (if not all) of the Asil horses of Lebanon and many horses in Syria traced to Shaykh al-‘Arab in some way.
Comments: According to my father, Shaykh al-‘Arab was known to be very slow on serving mares. It would take him about an hour to cover a mare. See also what Ali al-Barazi has to say on him.
Progeny: Shaykh al-‘Arab is the sire of Mach’al and Zanubia and of many, many good horses of Lebanon and Syria. He was also the sire of the horse *Daham imported to the USA by the Hindis, and of the horse Sa’ad al-‘Arab who was used around Hims in Syria.