The world woke this morning to the news that one of the biggest influences in thoroughbred racing and breeding throughout the world – has passed away.
No, not a champion horse, but a champion man. A breeder, an owner, an icon.
Prince Khalid Abdullah, the breeder and owner of champions like Frankel, Enable, Dancing Brave and soo, soo many more is no longer with it.
He owned the world famous Juddmonte Farm.
He is believed to have been aged 83, though it appears there is no precise record of the day he was born in Saudi Arabia in 1937.
His horses carried the world famous green, white sleeves and pink cap silks.
The Prince first started buying racehorses in the 1970s and met with success immediately. He rapidly expanded his port folio after that as racing took hold of him, and it continued to grow with the help of global racing superstars like Frankel and now Enable.
His horses won everything.
The Prince’s initial Gr 1 Arc victory was the result of a stewards’ inquiry, after his star Rainbow Quest was repeatedly bumped by Sagace in 1985, but much more gratifying for the Prince was the following year’s runaway win by Dancing Brave, who came sweeping up the middle of the Longchamp straight past one of the best fields ever assembled for the French race.
As his fame and success as a racehorse owner grew, Prince Abdullah stayed strong and loyal to those he admired. Sir Henry Cecil being one of them. The great trainer was having a bad trot in 2005 and had just 10 horses in his stable as owners turned away from him.
Not so his friend the Prince.
He gave him a colt to train named Frankel and it turned Sir Henry’s career and life around.
Prince Khalid owned and bred a wide variety of horses who achieved Group honours under the Abdullah silks, from the course record-breaking speedster and now sire Oasis Dream through gifted milers like Zafonic and Kingman to middle-distance Classic winners.
Quest For Fame, Commander In Chief and Workforce all won the Derby, while Abdullah shares the record for Arc victories at six.
His pride and joy, the world popular Enable won the race and her first Arc win in 2018 is thought to have been her owner’s final day at the races.
The great John Gosden trained for him and said overnight that the Prince had a tremendous passion for horses racing.
An influence like that will be sadly missed.