New information on the strain of *Mirage, a Saqlawi of Ibn Zubayni

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 10th, 2011 in Arabia, Syria, USA

The 1919 grey desert-bred stallion *Mirage (photo below, with owner Roger Selby) is a legend in American Arabian horse breeding. This Saqlawi Jadran stallion was born in the desert, and selected as a mount of the newly installed King of Iraq, Faysal I, before he was sold to a European ambassador and ending up in Lady Wentworth’s hands by 1923. You can read more about this in a good article by Michael Bowling, here.

He was her dream grey horse, but the British registration authorities would not let her register him, so he sold him to Roger Selby of Ohio in the USA in 1930. Here *Mirage had a brilliant career at stud, and his is now one of the most successful sire line in the USA (that of Bey Shah, Huckleberry Bey, and Barbary, among others).

*Mirage’s strain is recorded as “Seglawi Jedran of Dalia” which is better transliterated as “Saqlawi Jadran of al-Dali’ “.

Recently, while looking at some documents pertaining to the Syrian Saqlawi Jadran stallion al-Abjar (photo below, from Raed Yakan, thank you Raed), which was owned the Yakan family of Aleppo, and which I saw at their stud in the early 1990s, I came across his breeder’s description of al-Abjar’s strain as “Saqlawi Jadran of Ibn Zubayni from the marbat of the al-Dali’ family”.

My interest was aroused, so I asked my Aleppo friend Radwan Shabareq about the family of al-Dali’, and he confirmed that this was a extremely wealthy family of long-distance traders from Aleppo, who were running as many as ten caravans each year on the trading route from Istanbul Aleppo to Bagdad, through Aleppo. The Dali’ family were originally from the ‘Anazah tribe, but they were settled and not nomads (much like the Aal Saud, in that sense).

According to Radwan whose inlaws are distantly related to the family of al-Dali’, there is written evidence of their having bankrolled the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at its beginnings. He also told me that until a recent time, al-Dali’s heirs also owned the own private rifle of Thomas Darley, yes, the British consul who brought the Darley Arabian (a Ma’naqi Sbayli by the way) to the UK. More later on that fascinating rifle, and its current whereabouts.

Finally, Radwan also added, almost in passing, that the Dali’ family owned a famous marbat of Saqlawi Jadran of Ibn Zubayni, and that their horses were race winners in Egypt, as witnessed by the many cups and trophies in the Dali’ family house.

What all this means in a nutshell is that the now revised full strain of *Mirage is Saqlawi Jadran of Ibn Zubayni from the marbat of al-Dali’. *Mirage therefore becomes the third stallion of that famed Saqlawi Ibn Zubayni strain to have left a modern tail male line, after Jamil al-Kabir and Zobeyni. There must have been something truly special about these horses.

Note: As in many other instances (see the recent entry on Venus, below), Carl Raswan’s information on *Mirage is wrong and confusing, as I will prove in a next post.

13 Responses to “New information on the strain of *Mirage, a Saqlawi of Ibn Zubayni”

  1. Very interesting and showing that still after nearly one century we can correct or widen informations on the heritage of a horse! And also very interesting that a family, original bedouin but settled at Aleppo kept a marbat of such famous horses so that they were labeled with their family name.
    I look forward to the next post on Raswan´s mistakes. Does anyone know or can explain why Raswan´s information is so little relyable?

  2. Note: Al-dale’ was a family of caravan traders, so they had bases in Bagdad, Aleppo and Najd, and you can say they are from the three places at the same time. They were not only from Aleppo.

  3. When I was growing up we had a small pony/arab cross. My father always said his Arabian sire was out of Raffles. A few years ago I looked up his sire on the data source and turns out he was from the Selby farm but out of Mirage bloodline and didn’t have any Skowronek bloodlines. Turns out, besides the pony, he would have been asil.

  4. Juan,

    Not to nitpick but an Arabian sire is not OUT of an Arabian sire, in this instance cited, *Raffles. It is physically impossible. When a baby is out of something it is out of the female with one exception….Seahorses.

  5. Raswan’s mistakes were because he was working at a time when there were few published studbooks and he was working from notes taken from letters, books and conversations with people from around the world. His Index was a first effort at pulling things together, and he said that people should correct his work as information became available. He did make mistakes, but he was a serious student of the breed, trying to make sense of a “world-full” of information.

  6. Gari,

    Thanks for the correction on my misuse of terminology.

  7. Just to fill in one detail, there was no reason the Arab Horse Society would not have accepted *Mirage; at the time Lady Wentworth was feuding with the AHS and only entered her horses in Weatherbys’ General Stud Book, which also registered TBs and carried advantages for export.

  8. Is there any evidence that Mirage, Zobeyni and Jamil el Kebir were of the same tail male?

  9. No, there is no such evidence, and it’s unlikely for at least Mirage to have a different sire line than the other two because he not bred by Ibn Zubayni himself, but they should certainly be from the same tail female, tracing all to Ibn Zubayni’s original mare. On the other two being from the same tail male it is possible.

  10. Edouard – a question has come up with regard to the stallions we know came from the Saqlawi Jadran of Ibn Zubayni – namely Zobeyni and Jamil el Kebir. Is there any evidence that these stallions could be related, so that the sire line would be the same for each?

  11. Why not, this is a possibility, but he have no hard proof.

  12. Is the Second photo of Mirage?

  13. no it’s the syrian stallion al-Abjar from the same strain

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