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By Alexia Ross, Chairman of the Crabbet Organisation, Breeder and Crabbet historian.


Marbon Mastarpiece

Marbon Mastarpiece is a fascinating horse.  He caused a stir the moment he  arrived with his breeder Diane Ellis gaining a covering for his dam to the Australian Crabbet stallion Erin Park Excel by agreeing to let him go to Excel’s owner Pam Flower of Llain Arabian Stud.  Pam changed direction in her own breeding programme but Mastarpiece or “Otto” was never destined to disappear into obscurity.

He represents a remarkable spread of different influential breeding programmes in the UK for a 100% Crabbet horse.  Many people today worry about the tiny gene pool particularly in England but Mastarpiece has little in the way of doubling up close up in his pedigree.  

Otto comes from the relatively rare female line to Dafina, a desert bred mare gifted to Lady Wentworth.  Lady Wentworth added her to the Crabbet Stud and she is the only line today that qualifies as 100% Crabbet but does not trace to lines registered in the GSB.  This line makes him Kehailan El Krush by strain.
The pedigree is an interesting blend.  I remember Otto’s great granddam Istrashra well.  She was a gracious grey mare who was in high demand in her day who also produced the superb Istfahan (by Aurelian) as well as two stunning sons by Silvern Glimmer who unfortunately have not bred on.  Her double Indian Magic daughter Shuhira by Shirar proved a great foundation mare for Diane Ellis’ Marbon Stud however.  She was a very pale golden chestnut and a big, flashy mover.  She produced a long string of foals for Diane by her stallion El Sharluke who was by the Harwood bred sire Amboselli (a half brother of Harwood’s own Kasadi) from the unusually bred Sengoran mare Senadiha.  Senadiha was a full sister to Ranadi, maternal grandsire to Zobeyni Arabian’s stallion Zobeyni Nurani (by Grecian Idyll of whom more later).

Diane Ellis was very interested in combining some of her own flashy moving lines with the elegance and symmetry of Caroline Sussex’s Grecian Idyll at the Binley Arabian Stud.  She has proved very perceptive as, despite relatively few foals, the Grecian Idyll children and grandchildren are exhibiting much of the balance and quality of Grecian Idyll’s own maternal grandsire, British National Champion of old General Gold.

The mare she sent was an Imperial Stud bred Astar daughter Astarafah by Imperial’s hugely influential sire Hanif, bred at the Crabbet Stud.  The resulting son Marbon Mastarifah had some truly stunning foals of which the star was Mastarpiece before being gelded to embark on a performance career.  He has proved very successful at that too.

This stallion is a fascinating blend of a range of highly influential UK Crabbet bloodlines.  I can see the symmetry and balance with powerful loin, great shoulder and excellent hind quarter that I associate with General Gold and his sire General Grant.  The substance and limbs of those lines to Indian Magic, Hanif and Indian King seem to have made it through too with those big splashy markings that so often appear down from Indian Flame II, if not often to quite this extreme.  There too is the quality from those Indian Gold lines and that powerful Shuhira movement that she owed so much to the tried and tested blend of Dargee and Indian Magic.  

Otto offers a contrast in bloodlines to so much else that we have in an unusually quality package.  I will look forward very much to seeing how he breeds on in our gene pool.  He is one to watch ….. and use.

by Alexia Ross



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