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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.”