The racing world suffered a monumental loss yesterday with the passing of legendary owner and breeder, Khalid Abdullah. I would like to start by sending my condolences and thoughts to all Mr Abdullah’s friends and family and anyone connected with Juddmonte Farms.
All the big names of our great sport have come out to speak not only of the enormous impact Khalid Abdullah had on the racing world but how wonderful a man he was. The likes of Frankie Dettori, Roger Charlton and Dermot Weld were all quick to sing the Princes praises.
Roger Charlton, who knew Khalid Abdullah for over 40 years, said the Prince was “hugely knowledgeable and had a real passion for the sport”. He went on to mention that without the Prince’s support in the 1990’s he may not have had the career he’s had to date. Sanglamore won the 1990 French Derby for Abdullah and Charlton and the pair went on to strike again in the 1990 Derby just three days later when Quest For Fame won the Epsom Classic. Roger Charlton finished a touching interview by saying Abdullah was “a wonderful owner to deal with and I simple owe him everything”
21 times Champion trainer in Ireland, Dermot Weld was next to pay his respects. Weld described the Princes passing as “a huge loss to the racing industry and to anyone who knew Abdullah”. Weld was quick to highlight the fact Khalid had become “a pillar of the world’s breeding industry” and “when you talk about Juddmonte Farms you talk about excellence”.
Excellence really is the word when talking about Juddmonte Farms. Khalid Abdullah’s owning and breeding operation saw him have over 500 stakes winners, 440 of them he bred himself. These wins included 118 Group/Grade 1 winners out of which 102 were bred by Abdullah. Sporting the famous green and white silks with a pink diagonal strip, Khalid Abdullah has owned and bred some of the true greats. One of the first was Dancing Brave who went on to win a 2000 Guineas, Eclipse, King George and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in a career which saw him defeated on just the two occasions.
In more recent times Abdullah has had the likes of Kingman who scorched the turf in 2014, winning the Irish 2000 Guineas, St James’s Palace, Sussex Stakes and Prix Jacques Le Marios in a season which saw him crowned Cartier Horse of the Year, Champion Three-year-old Colt and the world’s top rated three-year-old colt. Enable is undoubtable Abdullah’s most recent great and what a career she had. A career which reflected Abdullah’s passion and love for the sport. It is because of Abdullah that we were able to see Enable race on into her 6-year-old season in pursuit of an historic third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
To finish it is only fitting that I end with Frankel, arguably the greatest race horse there has ever been. Bred by Juddmonte themselves, the Henry Cecil trained Colt won 14 of his 14 races, achieving an official rating of 140, 2lbs higher than Abdullah’s Dancing Brave and 4lbs higher than superstars Shergar and Sea The Stars. Frankel was simple breath taking and Abdullah adored him. In true sporting fashion and again testament to Abdullah as a racing man, Frankel continued to race as a 4-year-old when many expected him to be retired to stud. This decision brought joy to the racing world and Frankel delivered. Emphatic wins in the Sussex Stakes, Lockinge, Queen Anne, International Stakes and Champion Stakes saw Abdullah’s phenomenon conquer all and rewrite the history books.
Yes, Khalid Abdullah will be remembered for some of the great horses he owned but we must remember the man himself. A true gentleman who gave so much to so many.
Khalid Abdullah, Thank you for the memories