Ponce and Lopez Simon go through the Main Gate

Corrida de toros, sunday March 18. Valencia ( Spain )

A line-up for every taste. First matador Enrique Ponce (after going out on shoulders last night) takes the place of Cayetano who is suffering from an injury to his left hand and cannot take part. Second place is for Miguel Angel Perera, a welcome guest to the Valencian ferias and a matador who has already shown his profesionalism in many ways. Specifically with the Fuente Ymbro bull ‘Harinero’ (Fallas 2006). Third matador Alberto López Simón is also of great interest to the Valencian afición. Like Perera in 2006, Lopez Simón spared the life of the last bull in the Fallas series of 2017, ‘Pasmoso’, from Domingo Hernandez, a 532 kilo colorado bull with the eyes of a partridge. The bulls today are from Juan Pedro Domecq, carrying the old Duke of Veragua’s colors red and white and his brand, the crowned shield with a V.

Ponce in an ivory suit, Perera wore bottle green and Lopez Simon chose a pink suit of lights. All three with gold trimmings. Weights of the bulls: 531, 538 (rejected for falling over) first sobrero: 535 (rejected for falling over) 590, 536, 544 and 583 (second sobrero from Parlade). The wind blewduring the day but died down and it turned into a soft spring evening.

The first bull didn’t give Ponce the result everyone has hoping for and although he forced the animal take the capote and passed him with a few decent muletazos, the awaited frenzy stayed away. A pinchazo, a slightly off centre sword and five descabellos ended the life of Infortunado, the unfortunate one.

Ponce’s second bull, aptly called Maniqui, was well tried in the capotes, received two good pics and was appropriately banderillared. The faena started with his typical set of casual muletazos and half way through the last act I realized that I liked what I was seeing.

It was a Ponce, I had seen on so many occasions before the showmanship took over. The nonchalantly offered muleta and the almost silent change of hands.

But my optimism did not last long. Soon the poncinas started (to which the bull didn’t respond) followed by some muletazos on his knees. The estocada was again to the side but – like last night – it gave Ponce the two ears and the key to the Puerta Grande. Still, I was glad I had seen the Ponce I once knew during the 1992 Fallas Fair when even the most ethnocentric Sevillian had to admit that this young man would go far. But that was well before Enrique decided to become a showman.

Miguel Angel Perera’s first bull, staggered through the first encounter with the capote, fell at the first pic and at the insistence of the public, was changed for the first sobrero. This animal charged the horse from a good distance, took two good pics and felt the sting of the banderillas placed by one of Miguel Angel’s excellent banderilleros. The faena wasn’t spectacular but the bull went for every move of Perera’s muleta, whose sword fell a bit to the side to earn him an award.

His second bull charged the capote well, followed by two good pics and a spectacular series of banderillas by Curro Javier, Javier Ambel and Guillermo Barbero, who saluted the crowd. Looking at Perera’s faena with the bull Empachado I realized that everything he was doing, was to make the most of the quality of his opponent. And he was doing so very well and in the centre of the bullring. Had he killed the bull better he would certainly have cut the ear.

Lopez Simon’s first bull, a four-year-old with a physical appearance of a novillo, but still weighed 535 kilos, was sent back. The animal that took its place weighed 590 kilos, the largest animal of the evening. He was only slightly pic-ed, got three pairs of banderillas and jumped through the first passes of the muleta.

In the following ten minutes nothing spectacular happened. The bull took the cloth well,the matador offered it in a series of left and right hand passes. He was killed in an almost casual manner after which the matador was given the ear of the beast.

The last bull of the evening was a substitute from the Parlade ranch. A large animal, fast and threatening, who charged the capote and was well pic-ed. A good pair of banderillas  by Yelco Alvarez made sure Indiscreto was ready for the faena.

Like his colleague before him, Lopez Simon received the noble, bravo y fuerte  bull on his knees, in the middle of the ullring. It was obvious that he was aiming to go out of the Main Gate too. His faena went on too long but his sword went well and the second ear was cut.

After three hours of bullfighting, Ponce and Lopez Simon were carried out on shoulders and into the waiting crowd. Fallas had just one more day to go. The mystery of Roman’s substitution for tomorrow was finally solved: the Venezuelan Jesús Enrique Ruiz, Silva with the alias Jesus Enrique Colombo was to take his place.

Cronica de Pieter Hildering

Fotografias de Mateo.Tauroimagenplus.