It could have been

It could have been a novillada to remember on May 11, 2019. The animals from Montealto looked fine in the enchiqueramiento. Perhaps a bit too heavy, with heads that would not have looked odd on a four year old bull but in general, we left the corrales satisfied with the result of the sorteo.

At six thirty the three novilleros of the evening lined up and started their march across the sand. Coming towards me on their way to salute the president were Adrien Salenc, a 22-year old Frenchman from Nimes in a fire engine-red suit with gold trimmings who made his debut three years ago. On the left went Marcos Pérez Hernández, a novillero born in Madrid in 1995 and who calls himself ‘Marcos’. The color of his suit was a pale blue with silver. In between the two and dressed in a cyclamen colored suit trimmed with gold, came the young Valencian Borja Collado, the triunfador of the novilladas in this year’s Fallas feria and the obvious star of the evening.

It could have been a novillada to remember, the weather was soft like an early summer evening and the arena was pleasantly filled to half of its capacity. Maybe if I had taken my notebook. But I forgot and I can’t remember much of this novillada. I remember the first two novillos, fine looking animals who gaily galloped out of the toril full of excellent intentions for the evening. I would like to forget the anti-taurino espontaneo who jumped into the arena and bared his torso to show the usual war cries and for a moment I wondered if by now he had them tatooed on his body.

I remember the third animal who broke his horn and sullenly followed the oxen on his way out and the fourth novillo who replaced him and who lost an ear after a valiant faena by Borja Collado. The bulls in fourth and fifth place will remain unmentioned because nothing mentionable happened, although Salenc’s banderillero will remember the fourth novillo for a long time as it put him in hospital with an injury to the lower back that looked serious. After a great tercio de banderillas the Valencian’s second faena was full of details which spoke of valor, improvisation and cold bloodedness. But if that was enough to give him the second ear and the keys to the Main Gate remains to be seen, especially since the sword went in ‘trasera y tendida’.

Let’s hope next July the cartel won’t feature a ‘triunfador of the May novillada’. It’s time to see Borja Collado in another plaza than the one in his home town. But good luck to him, good luck to Marcos and good health to Salenc and his banderillero. And good luck to Montealto.

Texto de Pieter Hildering

Foografias de Mateo.Tauroimagenplus