WORLD RENOWNED owner and breeder Khalid Abdullah, in whose green, white and pink silks the likes of Frankel, Dancing Brave and Enable ran, has died at the age of 83. One of the leading names on the global racing scene over the last 40 years, Abdullah had over 500 Stakes winners including 118 at Group or Grade One level. Just a year after having his first runners in Britain in 1978, Abdullah celebrated his first Group One success with Known Fact in the 1979 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Known Fact went on to become Abdullah’s first Classic winner in 1980 after he was awarded the 2000 Guineas and the first of the litany of superstars to carry his owner’s name. Douglas Erskine Crum, CEO of Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, said: “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.” The twin pinnacles of Abdullah’s European operation in the 21st century were dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Enable and the incomparable Frankel, who lit up not only the owner’s life when deep into his eighth decade but also that of his ailing trainer Sir Henry Cecil.
Enable’s trainer John Gosden said: “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 an international breeding operation in the late 1970s and was an illustration of his brilliant mind. In a period of 20 years he established himself as both a European and American Champion Breeder.
“His charming, urbane and humorous manner was coupled with a great strategic approach both in business and his racing and breeding operation. A very private and patrician gentleman, Prince Khalid was a very strong family man for whom it has been a great honour and privilege to train for 38 years.”
Abdullah’s finest horse of the 1980s was undoubtedly Dancing Brave, who won the 2000 Guineas, Eclipse, King George and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in a fabulous 1986 campaign for Guy Harwood. Juddmonte trailblazer Known Fact was trained by Jeremy Tree, as was Abdullah’s first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Rainbow Quest and the crack miler Danehill, who went on to become a breedshaping stallion with Coolmore.
Roger Charlton took the reins from Tree at Beckhampton and in his first full season with the licence he sent out the Derby and Prix du Jockey Club double with Quest For Fame and Sanglamore four days apart before going on to train such notable horses as Bated Breath, Cityscape and Kind, the dam of Frankel. The men and women who trained for Juddmonte reads like a Who’s Who of world racing, and Sir Michael Stoute and Andre Fabre joined in the tributes.
The former landed the Derby and Arc double in 2010 with Juddmonte homebred Workforce. Fabre’s list of champions to carry the French, pink epaulette, version of the silks encompasses British and Irish Classic winners such as Wemyss Bight, Toulon and Zafonic, as well as Breeders’ Cup heroine Banks Hill and more recently another Juddmonte Arc winner in Rail Link. Closer to home, nobody who witnessed the 2017 Dubai World Cup victory of his Arrogate will ever forget the stunning performance; the horse missed the break but was still too good for his 13 rivals.