Tag Archive for: Khalid Abdullah

Dettori honoured to take part in Saudi race remembering Khalid Abdullah

Frankie Dettori will be remembering the great times he had riding in the famous silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah when he takes part in a race named in honour of the late owner in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

In recent years Dettori built up a magnificent partnership with the John Gosden-trained, Abdullah-owned Enable – winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice, the Breeders’ Cup Turf, three King Georges, the Oaks and Irish Oaks.

King Abdulaziz Racecourse will stage the Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah Cup in which Dettori rides Recovery Run, formerly trained by Andrew Balding and now with Bahrain-based Allan Smith.

Dettori said: “Prince Khalid did amazing things for the sport of horse racing and it’s a pleasure to ride in the race named in his honour.

“He will never be forgotten, and I’ll be forever grateful for all the opportunities I was given to ride for him, not least Enable who gave us all such incredible memories.

“I’ve ridden in Saudi for years and the racing calendar out there is very strong now. Of course, there is the Saudi Cup meeting next month, but there are more good races with top prize money throughout the winter that make it an attractive option for the European jockeys.

“The dirt course is top class, and the turf track is beautiful. It’s fresh every year, you really can’t fault it.

“The Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah Cup on Saturday looks an interesting race, with plenty of familiar names in there like My Frankel and Fabilis.

Khalid Abdullah (second right) with Frankel, Tom Queally and Sir Henry Cecil (right)
Khalid Abdullah (second right) with Frankel, Tom Queally and Sir Henry Cecil (right) (PA Wire)

“I remember I rode Crossed Baton to win the Derby Trial at Epsom a few years back and he only left John’s (Gosden) last year, so he’s interesting too. As for my horse, Recovery Run, he won his last start by 21 lengths, so I’d like to think he’s got a good chance!”

Joining Dettori is former champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa who will be riding Fabilis, formerly owned by Abdullah and trained by Ralph Beckett.

De Sousa said: “It’s a real honour to have been asked and I am looking forward to spending time out there. The racing is good quality and the people are so welcoming.”

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.”

Juddmonte colours will continue to grace the racing world

Juddmonte Farms is to operate as normal after the death of its founder Khalid Abdullah.

The Saudi prince 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 have been carried to victory by more than 500 stakes winners, of which he bred over 440 – including 118 Group or Grade One winners, breeding 102 of them.

Abdullah had stud farms in the UK, Ireland and North America and has been a major force in the breeding and racing industry for over 40 years.

And Douglas Erskine Crum, chief executive of the Juddmonte Group, said the family were committed to keep the operation going despite Abdullah’s death on Tuesday at the age of 83.

“No change. The family has been for some time and still is very committed to keeping Juddmonte as it is, going, focusing on the broodmare band, focusing on the home-bred operation,” he told ITV Racing.

“One of the last decisions in which the prince was involved was the matings for this year, in other words where his 200-odd broodmares are going to go. Whether they are going to go to Frankel, Kingman or some of the great stallions across the world.

Enable was another Juddmonte flag-bearer
Enable was another Juddmonte flag-bearer (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“And those horses will be born next year and will race as three-year-olds in 2025 so if we have a champion in 2025 you will be able to say the prince was actually involved directly in the decision making.

“Juddmonte will continue. Continuity is key for any breeding and racing operation.

“Of course things change and indeed the prince made some fairly substantial changes in the number of broodmares six or seven years ago, but those changes are necessary to keep the business running and also necessary to make sure that essential continuity of the broodmare is enhanced.”

Tom Queally hails ‘gentleman’ Khalid Abdullah

Frankel’s rider Tom Queally believes owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah “leaves a legacy which will live on for a long time” following his death on Tuesday.

Queally rode Abdullah’s unbeaten superstar to each of his 14 successes, which included a remarkable 10 Group One triumphs between 2010 and the end the 2012 season.

Frankel was trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil, with the handler enjoying a long association and many big-race successes with Abdullah.

The owner continued to send Cecil horses when his fortunes dipped in the early 2000s and Queally underlined Abdullah’s “admirable” loyalty to the trainer.

Frankel retired unbeaten in 14 starts
Frankel retired unbeaten in 14 starts (PA)

He told the PA news agency: “I was very fortunate and lucky to ride dozens of Pattern race winners for Prince Khalid throughout my career.

“He was a gentleman to ride for, his Juddmonte operation has been a huge success and leaves a legacy which will live on for a long time.

“I was very lucky to ride what was arguably his best horse. It was the work of years and years of breeding to produce a horse with the excellence of Frankel.

“His loyalty to Sir Henry Cecil through all the ups and downs was very admirable. That loyal patronage paid off in the best possible way you could have imagined with Frankel.

“He had a great understanding of horses and was very easy to deal with and very approachable.

“It’s a sad day and my thoughts go out to his family and friends and everyone that worked for him.

“I will look back with great pride that I had some involvement with him.”

Quest For Fame returns to the winner's enclosure at Epsom
Quest For Fame returns to the winner’s enclosure at Epsom (PA)

Trainer Roger Charlton provided Abdullah with his first of three victories in the Derby at Epsom in 1990, with Quest For Fame striking gold in the hands of Pat Eddery.

Abdullah went on to claim a second win in the premier Classic with the Cecil-trained Commander In Chief three years later before Sir Michael Stoute’s Workforce triumphed in 2010.

“I think the whole racing industry owes Prince Khalid plenty,” said Charlton.

“My career would not have happened without him – he’s been unbelievably loyal. I think the whole racing industry, from the breeding side to the racing side, all recognise what an amazingly professional operation Juddmonte has become.

“Prince Khalid has always been at the head of the table, he’s made the decisions and his results are there for everybody to see.

“I’ve known him for over 40 years. He was full of charm, humour and passion for his horses.

“Quest For Fame winning seems a long time ago, but that would be the highlight. I was very lucky to train for him.”

Dancing Brave seen here winning the King George at Ascot
Dancing Brave seen here winning the King George at Ascot (PA)

One of the early equine stars for Abdullah was Dancing Brave, who is also widely regarded as one of the greatest horses of all time, having won the 2000 Guineas, the Eclipse and the King George before producing an amazing performance in the Arc.

His trainer, Guy Harwood, said: “I was very fortunate to have enjoyed some wonderful days in Prince Khalid’s early career. In those days he bought horses and he bred them, so I had the best of both worlds.

“I had a lot of success with his really good horses and enjoyed working with him. He was a very fine man.

“We were lucky we had a lot of very good horses together and Prince Khalid took enormous pride in everything he did.”

Zafonic won the 2000 Guineas for Abdullah
Zafonic won the 2000 Guineas for Abdullah (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Top French trainer Andre Fabre won many big races for Abdullah, with such equine stars including Zafonic, Dansili, Rail Link, Flintshire and New Bay.

“It’s a great loss for everyone. Personally he had the sort of charm that made you want to do well for him, though he was a quiet man,” said Fabre.

“I was lucky enough to train a lot of great horses for him. Above all, he was a man that everyone respected and loved. It is bad news.”

Abdullah added Bob Baffert to his roster and the American trainer provided him with Arrogate, winner of the Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup.

“He was definitely one of the titans of racing – a true sportsman,” Baffert told Sky Sports Racing.

“One thing about training for him, he was a gentleman, he was a low-key kind of guy.

“He really trusted his trainers. When I got the word years ago, that Prince Khalid wanted me to buy horses for him as he wanted to try America, it is probably the biggest compliment a trainer in America can get.

“I bought one of the best horses I’ve ever trained for him in Arrogate. As everyone knows not only did he win the Breeders’ Cup and the Travers, but his win in the Dubai World Cup was one of the most exciting races ever.

“He (Abdullah) took care of his people. He was just a really nice man and I just feel fortunate I got to train for him and it was a big boost in my world to say I trained for the Prince.”

Oasis Dream won the July Cup
Oasis Dream won the July Cup (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Richard Hughes was Abdullah’s retained jockey from 2001 to 2007.

“It’s very sad. It was all about the breeding operation. That was the big thing,” he said.

“He was a good man to deal with. He was a private man, he was very straightforward, it was a very professionally run outfit. I had a great time.

“A few of the top horses I rode would be Oasis Dream, Nebraska Tornado and Three Valleys, who was probably the best winner of the Coventry this century.”

Dermot Weld was another to train a host of good winners for Abdullah and described his death as a “huge loss”.

Emulous was a Group One winner for Weld and Abdullah
Emulous was a Group One winner for Weld and Abdullah (Julien Behal/PA)

“I’d like to extend my sympathy firstly to his family and also he is a huge loss to the racing industry, because he was one of the pillars of the bloodstock and breeding industries of the world for the last 50 years,” said Weld.

“He is a man who raced Frankel, Kingman, Enable and he gave us, through his brilliance, these wonderful horses to enjoy.

“Famous Name gave Prince Khalid great enjoyment watching him win. He won 21 races for us of which 20 were Stakes races. I know he was unlucky not to win the French Derby, but those 21 races gave Prince Khalid great enjoyment.

“Emulous was a very good filly I won the Matron with for him.

“When you talk about Juddmonte, you talk about excellence and when you talk about Prince Khalid you talk about loyalty to his trainers. In this changing world, this was a great quality that shone out from the man.”

Gosden and Dettori pay tribute to owner Khalid Abdullah

John Gosden and Frankie Dettori led the tributes to owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah following his death on Tuesday.

Together the trio enjoyed huge success on the track, most notably with the brilliant racemare Enable, who was retired last October having won 15 of her 19 career starts, with her tally of 11 Group Ones including back-to-back victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

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

Other big-race winners for the Abdullah-Gosden combination include 2019 St Leger hero Logician, the top-class miler Kingman and the popular sprinter Oasis Dream.

Enable won two Arcs for Abdullah, Gosden and Dettori
Enable won two Arcs for Abdullah, Gosden and Dettori (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Gosden told the PA news agency: “Prince Khalid Abdullah first enjoyed going racing in the 1950s as a young man in Paris. This sparked his bold and thorough plan to establish a breeding operation in the late 1970s, an illustration of his brilliant mind.

“In the period of 20 years, he established himself as both a European and American champion breeder. His charming and humorous manner was coupled with a great strategic approach, both in business and in his horseracing and breeding operation.

“He was a very private and patrician gentleman and a very strong family man, for whom it has been a great honour and privilege to train for 38 years.”

Dettori hailed Abdullah as “a true giant of the sport”.

He said: “He was a great of the sport. I had one of my early Group Ones aboard a horse he owned called Ryafan in the Prix Marcel Boussac, who was trained by John (Gosden).

“He was amazing and a true giant of the sport. You could go on naming all the great horses he has owned, but you would have to say Enable, Frankel and Dancing Brave are the three that stand out.

“Enable will always be the apple of my eye and the last time I saw him was when she won her second Arc.

“He was a real gentleman and he loved his horses. He was very passionate and knowledgeable about them and the results speak for themselves. What he has done for the whole industry is fantastic.

Frankel was unbeaten in 14 career starts
Frankel was unbeaten in 14 career starts (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“Though Enable will always stand out to me, Frankel will always be the best horse that I’ve seen and have had to race against.

“I went to see Dancing Brave win the 2000 Guineas in 1986 – I wasn’t riding then and he was incredible. He was then beaten in that famous Derby before winning the King George and the Arc.

“I grew up in an era watching horses like Dancing Brave win and you were always very excited that one day you might get to wear those silks – ones that had been associated with such great success.”

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.

Seven of the best for Prince Khalid Abdullah

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s famous green, pink and white silks have been carried by some of the greats of the turf. Here we look back at just a handful of his spectacular performers:

Dancing Brave (Guy Harwood)

Dancing Brave won the King George at Ascot in a stellar three-year-old season
Dancing Brave won the King George at Ascot in a stellar three-year-old season (PA)

Dancing Brave was quite simply one of the greatest horses of all time. He won two low-key races at two, but victory in the Craven Stakes launched him into the big time and he then justified favouritism in the 2000 Guineas. He was favourite for the Derby, too, and much has been written about his defeat at Epsom, where he devoured the ground in the straight and just failed to reel in Shahrastani. Dancing Brave went on to win the Eclipse, King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and, after a warm up at Goodwood, produced an amazing performance to sweep down the outside and beat one of the best fields ever assembled in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Enable (John Gosden)

Enable has won 10 Group Ones to date
Enable has won 10 Group Ones to date (Julian Herbert/PA)

It is not difficult to argue a case that Enable is the best racemare Abdullah has ever owned. A 12-race unbeaten run, kicking off in May 2017 and running through to October 2019, encompassing 10 Group One victories, really is the stuff of dreams. Her haul includes the English-Irish Oaks double in 2017, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf and, of course, back-to-back wins in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. She also became the first three-time winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last summer.

Frankel (Sir Henry Cecil)

Frankel spreadeagled his rivals in the 2000 Guineas
Frankel spreadeagled his rivals in the 2000 Guineas (Steve Parsons/PA)

A 14-race career that had not a blemish, and included 10 Group Ones, there is not much new that can be said about Frankel, who might have been the late, great Sir Henry Cecil’s finest work. While possibly not his best performance on the book, his 2000 Guineas demolition job, perfectly accompanied by astonished commentator Ian Bartlett screaming “he’s 15 lengths clear”, will live long in the memory. Having carried all before him at a mile, he stepped up to 10 furlongs and was just as effective, leaving a host of Group One winners in his wake at York in the Juddmonte International, sponsored by his owner.

Zafonic (Andre Fabre)

Zafonic bursts clear to win the 2000 Guineas in 1993
Zafonic bursts clear to win the 2000 Guineas in 1993 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

His spell of brilliance did not last as long as some, but on his day Zafonic was right up with the best. Unfortunately for his connections he was a precocious type and would never hit the heights once promised, but he did win the 2000 Guineas. Unbeaten at two, he won three Group Ones in the Prix Morny, Prix de la Salamandre and the Dewhurst at Newmarket. He lost his unbeaten record first time out at three to Kingmambo, but bolted up back at Newmarket, breaking a long-standing course record. On his only other start he burst a blood vessel in the Sussex Stakes and was subsequently retired.

Commander In Chief (Sir Henry Cecil)

Sir Henry Cecil (left) enjoyed some great days with Khalid Abdullah
Sir Henry Cecil (left) enjoyed some great days with Khalid Abdullah (Phil Cole/PA)

A typical late bloomer. Unraced at two, Commander In Chief even ran in Abdullah’s second colours for his finest hour, when winning the Derby in 1993. Having won three small races, Cecil opted to go for the Derby, a race in which he already had the Abdullah-owned odds-on favourite Tenby. However, the market leader could finish only 10th as Commander In Chief and Mick Kinane charged to an impressive victory. He went on to follow up in the Irish Derby.

Midday (Sir Henry Cecil)

Sir Henry Cecil with Tom Queally and Midday at Goodwood
Sir Henry Cecil with Tom Queally and Midday at Goodwood (Max Nash/PA)

The majestic Midday won just one of her four juvenile outings, but really came into her own as she got older, finishing second in the Oaks at Epsom and third in the Irish equivalent, before bagging her first Group One in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. Another six top-level successes were to follow, including two more wins in the Nassau and a day to remember in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita.

Arrogate (Bob Baffert)

Arrogate has won more prize-money than any other horse
Arrogate has won more prize-money than any other horse (Asuncion Pineyrua/Juddmonte)

Abdullah’s success is far from confined to Europe – and his colours have been carried to many big-race victories in America, where undoubtedly his best performer has been Arrogate. Despite failing to run in any of the Triple Crown races, he was champion three-year-old in 2016 – courtesy of a five-race winning streak culminating in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He then went on to win the inaugural Pegasus World Cup before winning the Dubai World Cup, taking his career earnings to more than £13.5million.

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.”

Enable retired following stellar career

Connections of superstar mare Enable have confirmed her retirement with immediate effect.

John Gosden’s dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine finished sixth when chasing a record third victory in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest eight days ago.

A potential swansong on Champions Day at Ascot this weekend was subsequently mooted, but a statement released by owner-breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte operation on Monday morning confirmed she has run her final race.

Douglas Erskine Crum, CEO of Juddmonte, said: “After consulting her trainer John Gosden and his racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe, Prince Khalid has decided that Enable will be retired from racing and will now join the Juddmonte broodmare band to be covered by Kingman in 2021.”

Enable retires having won 15 of her 19 career starts, including 11 Group Ones.

Earlier this 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.

Having finished second to Waldgeist when bidding for the Arc hat-trick last season, the daughter of Nathaniel was kept in training as a six-year-old in the hope of going one better.

And while she ultimately came up short in testing conditions in Paris, she will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the greats.

Grimthorpe said: “She has brought so much joy to everyone who has been involved with her. Her elegance and forceful personality have been nurtured by John and his team at Clarehaven, especially by Imran who has looked after her with such calm and devotion.

“In her, Frankie found a willing partner to execute her ability on the racecourse. Her CV withstands the closest of inspections, very few can match what she has given to racing.”

Enable with connections after winning her third King George
Enable with connections after winning her third King George (Bill Selwyn/PA)

Gosden also paid a fulsome tribute to his stable star.

The Clarehaven handler said in a statement: “Enable has retired happy and sound after an extraordinary career. We all here at Clarehaven Stables have been very fortunate to be with her for the past five years and to appreciate her strong character and athletic prowess.

“Her daily presence has been a joy and her record in Group Ones including four Oaks, three King Georges, two Arcs, an Eclipse and a Breeders’ Cup Turf is a marvel and unprecedented. We look forward to visiting her nearby in her new career.”

Hollie Doyle races to century of winners at Sandown

Hollie Doyle raced to 100 winners for the year with victory aboard Maximal at Sandown Park on Friday.

Doyle, 23, steered the Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt to a dominant success in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes, with the Khalid Abdullah-owned youngster making it third time lucky after previously finished second at Newbury in July and at this venue last month.

The result was scarcely in doubt, with 2-7 favourite taking over the running early in the home straight and readily pulling five lengths clear of Toromona.

Doyle told Racing TV: “It was a great performance. He jumped smartly and travelled well.

“He didn’t do a whole lot early on and didn’t realise he was in the race until the two furlong pole when I put him eyeball to eyeball with the leader. After that he grabbed hold of the bridle and took me away.”

Doyle was reaching her century much quicker than in 2019, when she got to three figures at Chelmsford on November 21 – and that is despite racing being forced to shut down for almost three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She went on to break Josephine Gordon’s record of 106 winners for a female jockey and ended 2019 with a total of 116.

Hollie Doyle gave Scarlet Dragon a fine ride to triumph at Royal Ascot
Hollie Doyle gave Scarlet Dragon a fine ride to triumph at Royal Ascot (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

Doyle’s burgeoning career has reached even greater heights this season, with a first Royal Ascot success aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes followed by a maiden Group-race win aboard Ed Vaughan’s Dame Malliot in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket.

The record-breaking rider has since been signed up as retained rider for leading owner Imad Al Sagar and competed in a Group One for the first time when third aboard Dame Malliot in Germany.

Even more recently Doyle became the first female jockey to ride five winners in one day at Windsor and went close to a Group One success when runner-up on Glen Shiel in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.