A wonderful day in Utiel

Utiel, October 12 2019. Second of a series of novilladas sin picadores organized by the Valencian School of Tauromachy for the benefit of its students.

Five lively novillos (two-year-old erales) from the ganaderia of La Palmosilla (based in Cádiz), the first two exceptionally well behaved, strong, noble and brave animals. The last three more complicated, especially for unexperienced young men, about to start their difficult career.

Clemente Jaume, a student at the taurine school in Guadelajara received his bull with a series of veronicas to which the bull responded well. Novilleros number 2 and 3 also stepped in to try out the animal performing splendid quites of chicuelinas and veronicas respectively.

A set of low left hand passes followed by a series of derechazos got Clemente’s faena going. This great little bull gave the novillero every chance to show off his taurine qualities.

A pinchazo and an estocada got Clemente Jaume the ear.

The second novillo – for Germán Vidal ‘El Melli’ – was an almost exact copy of the first. Great veronicas welcomed the animal in the ring and a good set of banderillas got him ready for the last act. The faena consisted of several low passes of great quality on both sides to which the bull reacted splendidly. A pinchazo was followed by an estocada and the president awarded the novillero two ears. The novillo was given a lap of honor.

Aaron Rull kneeled down to receive his novillo at the toril gate for a larga cambiada a porta gayola but was run over by the charging animal. The run in had no physical consequences for both. A quite by Alberto Donaire followed. He must be the smallest and probably the youngest novillero I have ever seen. During the faena Aaron still managed to get some series of derechazos and naturales even though the novillo was difficult to control. These muletazos gave Rull the confidence he needed but the bull took that away by tossing him to the ground. Without any physical consequences. A sword to the side still gave the unfortunate novillero the ear.

Alberto Donaire from Valencia can hardly look over the wooden fence and lacks the physical strength to kill a bull. He needed at least eight stabs with the descabello before the animal finally succumbed. But he also had one of the least cooperative novillos of the evening. During the faena and after every pass, the animal retired and forced the novillero to start over. But I still recall a couple of fine muletazos and although sword went in too straight, it got him the ear.


Everybody’s money seemed to be on Borja Navarro, a student from the Valencian School.

His novillo was a jumpy, unpredictable son of Palmosilla, a ‘lively but complicated’ novillo. Navarro’s fine veronicas and a kneeling lighthouse pass (a farol de rodillas) got his performance under way. But the bull needed to be dominated, needed to be taught to lower his head in passes with a low muleta. Instead, Navarro held his muleta high which resulted in one or two good moments but the bull soon lost interest and he too took refuge against the boards.

The estocada dropped the bull and to my surprise Navarro got two ears.

He and ‘El Melli’ left the arena on shoulders which ended a pleasant tarde de toros in the monumental plaza de toros of Utiel.

To end this ‘cronica’ a word of thanks to the peña La Utielana and its president Don Francisco ‘Paco’ Barberá. They surprised me with a framed dedication with which they honored me for my help with the design of some of the peña’s taurine posters. This wonderful gesture got me completely off guard and I was lost for words in my thank-you speech. A nice detail is that they worded their praise in Spanish ánd in English. My non-Spanish friends will now be able to read what the members of the Utiel peña think of me. Thank you La Utielana.

 Crónica de: Pieter hildering

Fotografias de Mateo.Tauroimagenplus