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Royal Ascot swansong for Grimthorpe as Juddmonte racing manager

Teddy Grimthorpe has reflected on many happy memories as he heads to Royal Ascot for the final time as Juddmonte racing manager.

Grimthorpe has been in the role for 22 years but following the death of Juddmonte founder Khalid Abdullah earlier this year, he decided the time was right to stand down from the position.

Abdullah and Grimthorpe enjoyed huge success at the Royal meeting over the years, with Frankel’s 11-length demolition job in the 2012 Queen Anne Stakes and Banks Hill’s 2001 victory in the Coronation Stakes particular highlights.

Frankel was an easy winner at Royal Ascot
Frankel was an easy winner at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Grimthorpe said: “I’ve had such a great time. I’ve enjoyed it all and I’ve been very, very lucky.

“I’ve had some great days at Royal Ascot. Frankel winning the Queen Anne was great and Banks Hill winning the Coronation was fantastic. Calyx and Three Valleys winning the Coventry was pretty special, too.

“With any winner at Royal Ascot, part of it is relief and part of it is you realise how difficult it is to get one winner there, let alone any more.

“When they all fall into place it’s fantastic, but in the end, you’ve got be grateful for what you get given.

“It’s a fairly select team (this year). Like all cases, I wouldn’t say we have an obvious banker, but we’ve got horses that should turn up and run really well.”

Maximal (pink cap) goes for gold on the opening day of Royal Ascot
Maximal (pink cap) goes for gold on the opening day of Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Maximal is the highlight on day one for the Juddmonte team as he contests the Group One St James’s Palace Stakes.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Maximal has finished second on each of his two starts so far this year, including the Dee Stakes at Chester, but missed an intended run at Epsom’s Derby meeting due to the ground.

Grimthorpe said: “It’s going to be an ask for him. Obviously he didn’t run at Epsom because the ground turned against him. I would think unless there’s a thunderstorm it will be good, fast going on Tuesday, which he’ll certainly enjoy I would say.

“It will be a bit of a step up, but the (Abdullah family) are happy to let him take his chance – you can’t win if you’re not there.”

Sangarius won the Hampton Court Stakes in 2019
Sangarius won the Hampton Court Stakes in 2019 (Adam Davy/PA)

Sangarius is set to contest Wednesday’s feature, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

The five-year-old won the Hampton Court Stakes at Ascot in 2019, but has been limited to just four starts since, most recently finishing second in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown last month.

“He’s already a Group Three winner and a Listed winner and Sir Michael (Stoute) has always thought he had great talent,” said Grimthorpe.

“Obviously he’s had some interruptions in his career to say the least, so I think when these opportunities come around and the horse is in good form, you have to try to grasp them.

“He’s a lovely actioned horse, so hopefully the faster ground will be in his favour.”

Noon Star is Juddmonte's Ribblesdale contender
Noon Star is Juddmonte’s Ribblesdale contender (Tim Goode/PA)

Noon Star missed an intended Oaks run due to a late setback, but the Musidora Stakes second will have her chance to shine in Thursday’s Ribblesdale Stakes.

Grimthorpe said: “She’s heading to the Ribblesdale. She had a little setback before Epsom, but she’s been fine since.

“She’s worked nicely and goes there in good shape.”

Logician won the St Leger in 2019 and is due to contest the Hardwicke
Logician won the St Leger in 2019 and is due to contest the Hardwicke (David Davies/PA)

Logician was a Classic winner in the Juddmonte colours when landing the 2019 St Leger, but was limited to just two runs last term after suffering a life-threatening case of peritonitis during the winter.

He finished third in a Newbury Group Three on his return this year and Grimthorpe is keen to see how he fares in Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes for trainers John and Thady Gosden.

“He’s been in great shape actually, since Newbury. He’s come on again and has been pretty enthusiastic,” he said.

“I should think this will be a pretty good definition of where his career will head after Ascot.

“I have to say, I think John has been very pleased with him. It was great for the family to take this decision to keep him in training.”

Grimthorpe would obviously relish a Juddmonte winner in his final week, but added: “I’ve had so many highs, so whatever happens this week, it will just be part of a fantastic story.”

Barry Mahon will take over the role as Juddmonte’s European racing manager, while Grimthorpe has new projects in his sights.

He said: “I’m going to take a little bit of a breather, but I’m not retiring – I want to stay in the business.

“I’ve got one or two projects up in Yorkshire and I’m speaking to people at the moment about one or two projects, which I’m looking forward to.

“I don’t know what will come of that, but whatever happens I’ll stay active in the business.”

Barry Mahon announced as Teddy Grimthorpe’s successor at Juddmonte

Juddmonte has announced that Barry Mahon will take on the responsibility for all European racing following the retirement of Teddy Grimthorpe.

Grimthorpe announced in April that he was stepping down from his long-standing role as racing manager for Juddmonte Farms after 22 years.

In a position he took over in 1999, Grimthorpe managed all of the late Khalid Abdullah’s horses in Europe, overseeing such greats of the Turf as Frankel and Enable.

Mahon, currently Stud Director Ireland for Juddmonte, will continue to run Irish operations and becomes General Manger Ireland and European Racing from June 21, with a key part of his role being to liaise with Juddmonte’s trainers in the UK, France and Ireland.

Barry Mahon was born and bred into Juddmonte. His father Rory Mahon has been at Ferrans Stud with Juddmonte for nearly 40 years and remains a highly valued member of the team. Rory will continue to help manage the Irish stud operation.

Douglas Erskine Crum, Chief Executive of Juddmonte, said: “As racing manager for Juddmonte’s late owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah, Teddy managed all Juddmonte’s European horses in training and played a leading role in Juddmonte’s consistent and sustained success worldwide at the very highest level in racing.

“On behalf of Prince Khalid’s family and all of us past and present at Juddmonte, I thank Teddy for all he has achieved, year after year, and we wish him the very best of good fortune for the future.

“We are delighted Barry is taking on the additional European racing role. He is ideally placed to take on Teddy’s duties in Europe and, together with Rory, continue to manage Juddmonte Ireland.”

After working for John Gosden, Barry Mahon completed an honours degree in Equine Science and International Business Management at Oxford Brookes University. During this time, he completed work placements with Coolmore Ireland, Coolmore USA and Highclere Stud.

Upon completion of his degree, he was appointed Yearling Manager at Grangecon Stud in Ireland, before becoming manager of Clarecastle Farm (breeders of Authorized and Order of St George) in Ireland, a position he held for 12 years before joining Juddmonte in 2017.

Garrett O’Rourke remains General Manager USA, responsible for Juddmonte’s stud activities and racing in the USA, while Simon Mockridge remains General Manager UK, responsible for stud activities in the UK, including the European stallions and broodmares.

Claude Beniada continues to represent Juddmonte in France, reporting to Barry Mahon.

Kind dies, aged 20, after complications in foaling

Kind, the dam of unbeaten superstar Frankel, has died due to complications after foaling a colt by Kingman.

The 20-year-old mare gave birth to her colt on March 2, but owners Juddmonte announced her death on Monday.

Kind leaves a substantial legacy with five stallion sons at stud, headed by Frankel – a 10-time Group One winner, who retired in 2011 with a perfect record of 14 wins in as many starts for the late Sir Henry Cecil.

Frankel’s full-brother Noble Mission was a three-time Group One winner – including the 2014 Champion Stakes – while Bullet Train, a half-sibling by Sadler’s Wells, counted a Group Three Derby trial win on his record.

The magnificent Frankel is a lasting legacy of his dam, Kind
The magnificent Frankel is a lasting legacy of his dam, Kind (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Kind’s sons Morpheus and Proconsul also stand at stud, while her daughter Joyeuse and granddaughters Jubiloso and Jovial are in the Juddmonte broodmare band. Her three-year-old Galileo filly Chiasma – a full-sister to Frankel – is currently in training with John Gosden.

Kind, who was twice a Listed winner in her racing days, is on the IFHA’s International List of Protected Names because of her achievements in producing two Group One winners.

Stud director UK Simon Mockridge said: “I cannot thank the Rossdales and Juddmonte team enough for the tireless care they have given Kind.

“To many she will rightfully always be best remembered as the dam of Frankel and Noble Mission – to us at Juddmonte, she will always be Kind by name and Kind by nature.”

Enable in foal to Kingman

Juddmonte Farms has announced brilliant racemare Enable has been successfully scanned in foal to Kingman.

The dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was retired from racing little over a week after coming up short when chasing a record third victory in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest in October.

A couple of weeks later she left trainer John Gosden’s yard for the final time to begin a new career at Banstead Manor Stud.

On Valentine’s Day Enable was covered by Juddmonte stallion Kingman, who won four Group Ones over a mile for Gosden and his late owner Khalid Abdullah in 2014 – and he has already sired a clutch of top-class horses, including Palace Pier and Persian King.

A fortnight on, Juddmonte confirmed the mating was successful, tweeting: “15 days after covering, champion Enable was this morning successfully scanned in foal to Kingman.

“Hopefully an exciting new chapter in this remarkable mare’s story.”

Kingman covered Enable on Valentine's Day
Kingman covered Enable on Valentine’s Day (Steve Parsons/PA)

Enable won won 15 of her 19 career starts during a glittering racing career, including 11 Group Ones.

Last summer she became the first horse to win a third King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot – while her big-race haul also includes the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks, two Yorkshire Oaks’ and the Coral-Eclipse.

Enable accumulated record earnings for a European-trained horse of £10.7million during five seasons, and in 2018 became the only horse to win the Arc and the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same year.

Prince Khalid Abdullah – the founder of a racing legacy beyond equal

Khalid Abdullah provided the racing world with a platinum legacy as the owner-breeder of a string of equine greats including Enable and Frankel.

Through his breeding operation Juddmonte Farms, the Saudi prince was the driving force behind generations of many of the best horses to grace the turf.

Dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Enable and unbeaten superstar Frankel lit up the early 21st century, yet were following in the hoofprints of Rainbow Quest, Dancing Brave and Zafonic among a stellar list of mighty Juddmonte forebears.

Equine ancestry was always key for Abdullah, from his first steps into racing more than 40 years ago, as he built up a battalion not merely for the present, but long into the future through home-bred stallions and broodmares.

Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud was born into Saudi Arabian royalty, in 1937, in the Middle East Kingdom’s Mecca Province.

His earliest association with the blue bloods of the turf, however, did not begin until many years later.

A spark was reportedly lit in the most appropriate of surroundings, given exploits to come, on a chance 1950s trip as a young man to Longchamp – home of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s premier middle-distance Flat prize.

Known Fact (right) won the 2000 Guineas in the stewards' room in 1980
Known Fact (right) won the 2000 Guineas in the stewards’ room in 1980 (PA)

Yet history records the first victory in his pink, green and white colours arrived only in May 1979 – courtesy of Charming Native and trainer Jeremy Tree at Windsor.

Major investment was already under way by then – in terms of bloodstock, with real estate to follow – and success at the highest level was swiftly achieved.

Known Fact had been bred for American dirt but put a new, expanding enterprise on the map with victory in the 1979 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket – returning the following spring to win the 2000 Guineas, after the disqualification of Nureyev who had passed the post first by a neck.

No matter, the prince’s outlay was repaid – as it already had been for the first time at Royal Ascot a year earlier with Abeer’s success in the Queen Mary Stakes.

Significant milestones arrived on and off the track in 1982 – with the first home-bred winners and the founding of the Juddmonte banner.

Dancing Brave's exploits in 1986 set the bar high for Juddmonte
Dancing Brave’s exploits in 1986 set the bar high for Juddmonte (PA)

It was to take up residence in due course at renowned farms in Britain, Ireland and America, including Newmarket’s Banstead Manor Stud, home to its top European stallions.

Abdullah’s early racecourse successes were pioneering on behalf of several new fellow owner-breeders from the Middle East – including Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, from the United Arab Emirates.

Coolmore, in Ireland and America, evolved as another powerful rival as a breeding ground for champions.

Juddmonte’s best were elite – and it was Dancing Brave who first set the bar with his remarkable deeds in 1986.

After his Guineas victory, he agonisingly failed to catch Shahrastani in the Derby – but following a brilliant performance in the Eclipse at Sandown, trainer Guy Harwood sent his colt to Ascot’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes to exact emphatic revenge for the Epsom near-miss.

That was little more than half the tale which culminated when Dancing Brave, ridden by Pat Eddery who had replaced injured Greville Starkey at Ascot, produced astonishing late acceleration to mow down the Arc field at Longchamp, mastering one of the best fields ever assembled in Paris.

Juddmonte therefore retained a title won the previous year in the stewards’ room by Rainbow Quest.

Throughout, Abdullah was a notably unassuming presence on the racecourse – allowing the splendid narratives around him to speak for themselves.

His varied, characterful trainers and brilliant racehorses ensured that task was duly fulfilled.

The unblemished career of Frankel was perhaps the finest example.

Frankel after his brilliant 2000 Guineas win, with his victorious connections - including jockey Tom Queally. owner Khalid Abdullan and trainer Sir Henry Cecil
Frankel after his brilliant 2000 Guineas win, with his victorious connections – including jockey Tom Queally, owner Khalid Abdullah and trainer Sir Henry Cecil (PA)

The son of Coolmore’s great sire Galileo was named after Abdullah’s former trainer, the great American Robert ‘Bobby’ Frankel, but was in the care of Sir Henry Cecil – ailing, much-admired doyen of the British ranks – and ridden by stable jockey Tom Queally.

It proved a prolific winning combination which entranced millions, especially after an astonishingly impressive 2000 Guineas victory in 2011 – one of 14 occasions in all, 10 at Group One level, when Frankel proved utterly superior.

When he did so on his penultimate start in the Juddmonte International at York – over his longest trip, 10 and a half furlongs – he pulled off another feat by prompting rare public expression from his owner at victory in the race he sponsored.

“It’s exceptional – I’ve never seen it like that,” Abdullah said in the winner’s enclosure, as he took in the universal goodwill of racegoers – none of whom could have got rich backing the 1-10 favourite.

Other superstars carried the Juddmonte mantle with great distinction.

Zafonic and Pat Eddery lead the field en route to victory in the 1993 2000 Guineas
Zafonic and Pat Eddery lead the field en route to victory in the 1993 2000 Guineas (Fiona Hanson/PA)

They included the mercurial Zafonic, victor in the 1993 Guineas and a brilliant juvenile for Andre Fabre, Commander In Chief – Cecil’s Derby winner in that same year – and late-maturing mare Midday, a six-time Group One heroine.

Arrogate was the most successful globetrotter of all, amassing earnings of over £13.5million largely thanks to his Dubai and Pegasus World Cup victories – flying the flag for his connections’ American base too with a 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic win.

Nonetheless Enable, trained by John Gosden and ridden to all her major triumphs by Frankie Dettori, is Juddmonte’s home-bred queen.

Queen of the turf Enable, with winning jockey Frankie Dettori, after their 2019 Yorkshire Oaks success
Queen of the turf Enable, with winning jockey Frankie Dettori, after their 2019 Yorkshire Oaks success (Nigel French/PA)

A three-time champion owner in Britain – with more than 100 individual top-level winners worldwide – Abdullah was verging on 80 before Enable burst onto the scene.

His homebred superstar racked up a 12-race unbeaten sequence, which took in the Oaks and four more Group Ones in 2017 – lastly in the Arc, displaced at Chantilly.

She did not lose again, including at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, until runner-up to Waldgeist in the Longchamp mud when bidding for a record third Arc in 2019.

Enable’s brilliance and resilience has been a crowning glory, even by Juddmonte’s elite standards, and embodiment of its founder’s vision and ambition.

Prince Khalid Abdullah dies

Leading owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah has died, his Juddmonte Farms operations confirmed.

The Saudi prince has owned and bred some of the greatest equine names the sport has ever seen – with his famous green, pink and white silks carried by the likes of Frankel, Dancing Brave and dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Enable.

Abdullah’s colours were carried to victory by more than 500 Stakes winners, of which he bred over 440 – including 118 Group or Grade One winners, of which he bred 102.

Douglas Erskine Crum, CEO Juddmonte, said in a statement: “The whole of Juddmonte feels a huge sense of loss. Prince Khalid will always be remembered as a quiet, dignified, benevolent family man, whose horses spoke for him.

“He leaves a legacy that will stand the test of time. His contribution to the development of the thoroughbred will have long-lasting effects.”

Abdullah enjoyed his first winner more than 40 years ago, before going on to huge success, winning each of the five British Classics on multiple occasions, including three Derby successes with Quest For Fame (1990), Commander In Chief (1993) and Workforce (2010).

Enable was a superstar for Abdullah
Enable was a superstar for Abdullah (Nigel French/PA)

He also won the Arc six times in total, and was crowned champion owner in Britain three times.

Teddy Grimthorpe took over as Abdullah’s racing manager in 1999, with his tenure encompassing the Frankel and Enable days in particular, and he said: “I am very sad. He was a monumental man for the world.”

Abdullah’s multitude of winners also included the likes of Kingman, Oasis Dream, Known Fact and Rainbow Quest – with his British breeding operation based at Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket, and his American Juddmonte farms located near Kentucky.

Annamarie Phelps, chair of the British Horseracing Authority, paid tribute to an “exceptional man”, who died at the age of 83.

She said: “It’s extremely sad to hear of the passing of Prince Khalid Abdullah.

“His name and distinctive racing silks will forever be associated with some of the greatest horses and most unforgettable moments in the sport’s history, from Dancing Brave, to Frankel, Enable and many more.

“His Juddmonte breeding operation has also been a feather in British racing’s cap for many years – and those exceptional bloodlines, which will be enjoyed for generations to come, are a priceless gift to our sport from an exceptional man.

“He will be sadly missed by the racing world.”

Frankel retired unbeaten for Cecil and Abdullah
Frankel retired unbeaten for Cecil and Abdullah (PA)

Lady Jane Cecil, whose late husband Sir Henry Cecil trained the mighty Frankel, said she owed Abdullah “so much”.

“When Teddy Grimthorpe rang to tell me, I was so sad at the news. Prince Khalid was kind and a gentleman and I just owe him so much,” she told Sky Sports Racing.

“The loyalty he gave Henry, I can’t tell you how important that was, especially during those quiet years and then his belief in Henry to send him Frankel. I’ll always be grateful that Henry had him to train in his final years.

“Henry and Prince Khalid did have a special friendship which meant a great deal to Henry. Obviously he was his trainer, but they did have lunch together in London. They were different but they got on very well.”

James Doyle and Noble Mission after an emotional victory in the  Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2014
Lady Cecil with jockey James Doyle and Noble Mission after an emotional victory in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2014 (Steve Parsons/PA)

When Sir Henry Cecil died in 2013, his wife Lady Cecil took over the reins at Warren Place. Prince Khalid kept Frankel’s brother Noble Mission in training there and was rewarded with an emotional victory in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2014.

“He was so loyal. Imagine allowing me to train Noble Mission. He’s Frankel’s full-brother,” Lady Cecil went on.

“Allowing me to do that – being loyal and supportive which was an extension of his loyalty to Henry – Warren Place had that fantastic day at Royal Ascot which will live with me forever.”