AL REEH JANOOB – 2012 WAHO Trophy Winner – United Kingdom

AL REEH JANOOB, bay stallion, *1994 (Chatanz / Shuwaimeh Bint Warda).
Breeder and Owner: Mrs. Jennifer Lees.
Strain: Shuwaimaan (Shuwaimeh Warda)

The Council of the Arab Horse Society selected Al Reeh Janoob as Britain’s 2012 WAHO Trophy winner from various the nominations received. He was chosen in recognition of his outstanding performance record in racing and endurance competitions. His race record of 55 runs with 12 wins and 24 places, together with three completions in the AHS Marathon (a race over 26 miles of varied terrain) and his Advanced Endurance status all confirm his exceptional athletic ability. The WAHO Trophy was presented by WAHO Executive Committee Member David Angold in a special ceremony at the 2012 British National Arabian Championships Show at Malvern.

Al Reeh Janoob was the first foal bred by Jenny Lees from her pure Bahraini mare, Shuwaimeh Bint Warda (Jellaby Alahmar Montasir/Shuwaimeh Warda) who was imported to UK in 1993 together with the pure Bahraini colt Krayaan Dilmun, both gifts from HRH Prince Mohammed bin Sulman Al Khalifa. These very rare desert horses have been bred by the Royal family of Bahrain in a closed stud for well over 200 years, they are never sold but occasionally gifted as in the case of the famous foundation mare Nuhra who came to the UK as gift for King George VI in 1938.

Jenny, who had spent some time living in Bahrain where she first fell in love with their unique Arabians, selected Lesley Dunn’s homebred stallion, Chatanz (Bonanza/Chatelaine) – for many years an AHS Premium Scheme stallion – to produce Shuwaimeh Bint Warda’s first foal. Her criteria for the selected stallion included good conformation combined with excellent temperament and proven performance lines on both sides of the pedigree. Al Reeh Janoob which means “The South Wind” in Arabic was named for the legend which says ‘Allah took the South Wind breathed life into it and created the Arabian horse’. Being a first foal, he was quite small at birth and in fact never grew very tall, his final height was to be 14.3hh, but he has tremendous strength and power and that indefinable ‘heart’ that sets some horses apart from others.

Jenny decided to train him herself for the popular sport of Arab racing, which in Britain is still mainly an all-amateur sport. He was ridden and trained at home with the occasional visit to the all-weather gallops where he worked alongside his sire Chatanz ridden by Lesley Dunn. Jenny Lees takes up the rest of his story:

“Al Reeh Janoob thoroughly enjoyed his racing for 5 seasons, taking part in 55 races and achieving 12 wins and 34 places. Included in his wins was the Satank Handicap Stakes 5 furlong sprint at Goodwood and the Deira Championship Stakes over 1 mile 4 furlongs at Lingfield. Longer distances or sprints, all weather or grass surfaces, rain or shine, it was all the same to Janoob he just went out and gave it his all. He was always very relaxed in the race preliminaries, saving his effort for the racecourse itself.

Completing the AHS Marathon in 2005
Photo credit Eric Jones

Al Reeh Janoob winning at Lingfield
Photo credit J.M. Ratcliff
“I decided to end Janoob’s racing career and switch him to endurance after a very naughty display at Newbury on Dubai International Race Day. In a field of 8 runners only 4 were left in the race on the final bend, two horses for HH Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, one for HH Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, and Al Reeh Janoob. Janoob took the lead two furlongs from home then inexplicably slowed down to bite HH Sheikh Mohammed’s horse, lost his stride, found it again, got to the front again and then slowed down to bite him again. No-one, spectators, jockey or commentator, could believe what was happening! It all became clear later in the winner’s enclosure when my jockey explained that the stallion Janoob had stopped to ‘fight’ with had screamed a challenge at Janoob from the confines of the starting stalls. It did occur to me later that the horse might have been referring to Janoob’s height in its challenge as he was trained by the person who once told me that Janoob was too small and would never make a racehorse. Al Reeh Janoob had enjoyed his revenge but it was time to move on!

“Over to endurance and within a season, with my daughter-in-law Amanda riding, Al Reeh Janoob had moved up to Advanced Status. To ring the changes he has also competed successfully in showjumping, both locally and at the AHS National Show at Malvern.

“Then he became a film star, having gained the part of the horse on the treadmill in BBC4’s documentary ‘The Real Dick Turpin’. This was followed by a request from an artist to use Janoob as a model for a hologram of a galloping horse that would be displayed in the Tate Modern Museum, so it was back on the treadmill courtesy of Hartpury College.

“We also decided to have a go at the AHS Marathon, a very tough competition which Al Reeh Janoob has completed 3 times, his best position being 4th alongside his half brother, the pure Bahraini stallion Shuwaiman Al Bahrain who came in 6th. There were plans to compete in the 2011 AHS Marathon but after all the training he picked up a virus at an endurance ride and we had to withdraw.

“Among other offspring, Al Reeh Janoob has a son and a daughter competing in endurance, his daughter Bint Al Reeh Janoob is at Advanced level, whilst his son Subah bin Janoob is in his Novice Season. At present Al Reeh Janoob is busy covering mares whilst being ridden with possibly another AHS marathon in mind …well he is only 18 years young!”

Al Reeh Janoob at home
Photo credit: Jennifer Lees.

WAHO Trophy presentation.
Left to Right: David Angold, WAHO Treasurer; Al Reeh Janoob and Amanda May; Jennifer Lees with Amanda’s daughter, Elsie
Photo credit: Sweet Photography