The arrogance of youth

Feria de Las Fallas, Friday, March 16.

Corrida de toros from Nuñez de Cuvillo. The only first category ranch that doesn’t belong to the mighty Unión de Criadores de Toros de Lidia.

Frenchman Sebastián Castella (Beziers 1983, alt. Beziers 2000), José Maria Dols Samper ‘Manzanares’ (Alicante 1982, alt. Alicante 2003) and Andrés Roca Rey, the fearless, some say reckless young Peruvian (Lima 1996, alt. Nimes 2015) who is shooting up the rankings with breakneck speed. He knows Valencia expects a lot of him as he triumphed in all of his visits to the Coso de Monleón, going out on shoulders on three occasions last year. It looks like I will be sitting on the steps tonight, as the sign of No Hay Billetes has gone up. Luckily I made it to the press box on the first floor and had a glorious front row seat. Weight of the bulls: 537, 535, (541 rejected) 531, 534, 532 and 542.

Castella in pale blue and gold, Mazanares bright red and gold while Andrés Roca Rey wore a grass-green suit with gold trimmings. Lovely cool spring weather.

Had it not been for the young Peruvian, the evening would have been different and had it not been for Rosito, the smallest bull Nuñez del Cuvillo sent to Valencia, Roca Rey would not have triumphed. But, had the bull Lanzafuego not been rejected, Rosito and the matador would never have crossed paths

But let’s recount the evening:

The first bull jumped at the capote, threatened the banderilleros and stopped dead in its tracks halfway through the faena. A quite of chicuelinas, a series of estatuaria passes at the beginning of the faena was all Castella could do but kill the bull with a solid estocada.

His second opponent was a bull called Espantoso. He looked unstable at first but gave the matador enough to do. It resulted in a typical Castella-style faena with several series of slow, vertical right-handers and some naturales with a low muleta. Another solid estocada from the 35-year-old matador from Beziers.

Aguaclara was a sand colored ‘albahio’ bull, the first for Manzanares. He showed his weakness at the slightest wave of the cape and was only lightly picked as not to tire him. After a quite of chicuelinas from Roca Rey, the bull jumped at Manzanares’ muleta. The Alicantino’s faena missed depth but the last series of low passes slowed the bull down beautifully. A straight sword and Aguaclara dropped dead on the sand. An ear for Manzanares.

A pinchazo and an estocada trasera took the life of Campanito, the fifth bull and Manzanares’ second. In a well constructed faena that should have been rewarded with at least one trophy, Manzanares began citing the animal from a large distance to wear him down. He then went for a series of low passes with both hands. His first attempt with the sword hit bone, but it was followed by an estocada that dropped the bull. Although some of the crowd waved their handkerchiefs, it wasn’t enough to reward José Maria with the ear.

When the third bull was taken out of the arena by a beautiful new string of oxen, Roca Rey chose for the bull he would have confronted as his last. Whether this was deliberate, because he was told about the poor condition of the substitute or not, will surely be revealed later. Rosito gave Roca Rey the ticket to glory. He went for the bull with a 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. A straight estocada got him with both Rosito’s ears.

Bull number six was an invalid who stumbled and tripped and repeatedly fell over. Roca Rey had chosen well, this animal would never have given him the reward he was after. So, after he was dragged out of the ring, Roca Rey was hoisted on the shoulders of his followers and carried through the Valencian Main Gate. For the fourth time.

Cronica de Pieter Hildering

Fotografias de Mateo . Taurooimagenplus