Nefisa and her daughters at Crabbet

By RJ Cadranell

Posted on December 20th, 2008 in General, South Africa

I know there were Al Khamsa eligible tail-female descendants of Dajania after Nadirat, although they might not yet be in the Al Khamsa database. One is Nadirat’s 1946 daughter Aalastra, by Gulastra. And of course there was Nadirat’s famous 1935 daughter Aarah, by Ghadaf.

Nefisa is one of the most interesting of all the Crabbet broodmares, with her 21 live foals. Nine of these were fillies. Although Narghileh and Nasra were the two retained for breeding at Crabbet, and probably two of her best, the other fillies are worth a look too.

Nefisa’s first filly was Nahla 1889 (by Ashgar). The Blunts actually planned to retain her for breeding, but she died in the fall of her three-year-old year from overeating acorns in Crabbet Park.

Nefisa’s next filly was Nejiba 1892 (by Azrek). From her picture, this was a really dandy grey Azrek daughter. She did produce four foals at Crabbet, all colts. One died, one was sold to India, one to Scotland, and one was given to a nephew of Lady Anne’s who lived in Greece. Nejiba herself was given away at age 11 to the son of a longtime friend of Wilfrid Blunt’s.

Nefisa’s next filly was Narghileh 1895, marked “very fine” in the Crabbet records. Narghileh did have two younger full sisters, Nawara 1902 and Ninawa 1904, both sold to South Africa in 1906. Nawara at least is the subject of commentary in Lady Anne Blunt’s journals, where she is noted as having faulty action and one that “should be got rid of.” So presumably Narghileh was the best of the three Nefisa fillies by Mesaoud.

Nefisa’s next filly was by Feysul and born in 1906, but she lived only a month. Nefisa’s last three fillies were all by Daoud. Of these, the most famous is the first, Nasra 1908, who became one of the all-time great Crabbet broodmares. The next was Nadima 1909, sold to Argentina at age four, where she founded a line of Arabian breeding. Finally there was *Nueyra, Nefisa’s 21st and last foal, born when Nefisa was 27. Wilfrid Blunt sold *Nueyra to W.R. Brown in 1918. History has not been kind to *Nueyra. Her photographs are disappointing, and she was the animal in W.R. Brown’s large Crabbet imporatation that he liked least. However, nobody seems to take into account that this was the 21st foal out of a 27-year-old mare. By that time, Nefisa probably had a severely compromised uterus and not very good milk. In fact, Nefisa’s next-to-last foal, a colt by Daoud, is described in Crabbet records as “Beautiful colt. Died after 6 weeks; mare short of milk.” *Nueyra was probably lucky to have survived at all. Furthermore, *Nueyra was just two years old when World War I started. All of the Crabbet horses are known to have suffered from fodder shortages during the Great War.

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