A sobrero from Parladé

The novillada sin picadores on March 10 saw six well presented Nazario Ibañez’ two-year-olds, although unequal in weight and horns. The local novillero Borja Collado surprised us with two good quality faenas which got him an ear of each of his opponents. The young Valencian was the first to leave through the Puerta Grande. 

On the following evening Juan José Padilla said farewell to the Valencian afición but he failed to male an impact. Román had made it clear he is a young torero with great talent of improvisation and a remarkable presence in the arena. His performance was awarded with the ear of his first bull. He was injured in the estocada and didn’t come back. Padilla cut the ear of the sixth Jandilla bull that should have been toreared by the injured Román Collad ,El Fandi did not leave a lasting impression

The first novillada with bulls from Fernando Peña made the Valencian novillero Jesus Chover the happiest torero in town. He got the best two bulls of the evening and although he should have been rewarded with the ear of his first novillo, he cut two from his second and went out through the Puerta Grande. It earned him the title ‘Novillero of the Feria’

The second novillada came from El Freixo, a ganaderia owned by El Juli. Even thought they looked good, the novillos were not too strong and weighed an average of  500 kilo’s. The second novillo weighed 530 kilos and could have passed for a five-year-old bull. For ‘Toñete’, Jorge Rico and Marcos, the only novillero to cut an ear

March 14 saw the first non-Domecq corrida of the series. The Lozano bulls of Alcurrucén were well presented but all lacked stamina. All but one: the five-year-old Economista (560 kilos). He would be voted ‘Best bull of the Feria’ after a fine preparation by matador David Mora’s assistants. Banderillero Angel Otero was voted ‘Best subalterno of the Feria’.

To my surprise the Lozano ganaderia also got the majority vote for ‘Best ganaderia of the Feria’. We only saw five Alcurrucéns. In my opinion, all but ‘Economista’ lacked stamina, were complicated in their charges or sought refuge against the wooden fence. The Ventorillo sobrero was distracted and insecure

March 15 and had it not been for Vivero, the Fuente Ymbros would not have made an impact. He happily went for the muleta from a distance, stuck his horns in and followed the cloth. Charge after charge, series after series, in right-handed derechazos and left-handed naturales. Finally, after two hours of silence, the music played for matador José Garrido. Vivero saved the evening and the matador got his ear

On March 16 the first bull from Nuñez de Cuvillo was for matador Sebastian Castella. He jumped at the capote, threatened the banderilleros and stopped dead in its tracks halfway through the faena. A good kill by the Frenchman. During his second bull we saw a typical Castella-style faena with several series of slow, vertical right-hand passes and some naturales with a low muleta. Another firm estocada but no trophies

José Maria Manzanares’ first faena had a series of low passes which slowed the bull down beautifully. A straight sword dropped him dead on the sand. An ear for Manzanares. He got no ear after a well constructed faena with a beautiful series of low passes on his second bull. But the evening belonged to Andres Roca Rey and the bull Rosito. The young Peruvian showed youthful flair, and cold blooded arrogance. A quite of gaoneras got him going. Passes on his knees got the public out of their seats and an exceptional series of naturales and ‘muletazos en redondo’ ended his faena while a straightestocada got him both Rosito’s ears and the key to the Puerta Grande .March 17, was the first of two evenings of Enrique Ponce (he would also be on on the 18th, taking the place of the injured Cayetano). Although he received the majority vote for ‘Triunfador of the Feria’, Ponce failed to impress me. He poses more than he torears and nowadays bases his toreo on adornos and desplantes. His bulls were weak, his showmanship excessive and the way he handled his swords was a disgrace. Still, on both occasions the public went wild and carried him from the ring after they gave him two ears each evening Alejandro Talavante rivalled Ponce in cynicism and arrogance, he stood in profile and sent his bulls outwards with the tip of his muleta Paco Urena’s bulls were dangerous and difficult which resulted in faenas full of intakes of breath and reminders of earlier performances. The image of Ureña, overrun by the bull and being helped to his feet by his colleagues, bloodied and limping like a broken rag doll were like those of July 2017. But there is no matador more courageous, no one stands close to his bull and no one takes the consequences of his toreo more seriously than Paco Ureña.Miguel

Angel Perera and López Simón stood next to Ponce on the 18th with Juan Pedro Domecq bulls. Perera’s first faena wasn’t spectacular but the bull went for every move of the muleta. During his second bull we saw a great series of banderillas by Curro Javier, Javier Ambel and Guillermo Barbero, who saluted the crowd. López Simón got the largest animal of the evening. The bull of 590 kilos took the cloth well, 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. His last bull was the substitute from Parlade. A large animal that charged the capote and was well pic-ed. In my view he  should have been ‘Best bull of the Feria.’ López Simón cut his second ear and was also carried through the Main Gate.

Monday March 19, 11.30 am, Rejoneo. Bulls from Bohórquez for Andy Cartagena, Sergio Galan (one ear and two ears) and Lea Vicens (two ears from her last bull) The last two went out on shoulders on a lovely sunny afternoon in which Sol became Sombra and Sombra became Sol.

Monday March 19, 17.00 pm, Rain almost suspended the corrida with good, but complicated toros from Victoriano del Rio. The best animal was Ferrera’s second bull Jarretero. He toreared him in a magnificent faena during which the trumpet player of the band excelled in a rendition of the paso doble La Concha Flamenca. Jarretero was given a lap of honor! Gines Marin’s bulls took the capote well, charged the horse from a distance and were both well pic-ed. His faenas were interesting and well constructed . Jesus Enrique Colombo took the place of the injured Román, only placed banderillas on his first bull and got an ear for a good faena with a solid estocada. The last bull of Fallas 2018 didn’t give Colombo the same result.

My votes:

Best subalterno: Javier Ambel

Best novillero con picadores: Jesus Chover

Best novillero sin picadores: Borja Collado

Best ganaderia: none

Best bull of the feria ex aequo:

Indiscreto from  Parladé (toreared by López Simón on March 18)

‘Jarretero’ from Victoriano del Rio (on March 19, by Antonio Ferrera)

Best faena by a matador: Antonio Ferrera