Prince Khalid Abdullah
13 January 2021
The passing of prolific owner Prince Khalid Abdullah on 12 January is a significant loss for the horse-racing industry globally. Born in 1937 and a first half-cousin to the ruling family in Saudi Arabia, Prince Khalid enjoyed a successful business career and used his wealth to invest in the ‘Sport of the Kings’. In 1982, he purchased Cayton Park Stud in Berkshire and renamed it ‘Juddmonte Farms’, establishing a band of foundation broodmares whose offspring would have a significant impact on the sport.
Although plenty will be written in the coming days about Prince Khalid’s champions in the United Kingdom – Dancing Brave, Frankel and Midday, to name a few – he represented a dominant force in France too. The recognisable green, pink and white colours have been a winning combination in the French Classics over the years, starting with Houseproud’s victory in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) in 1990. In the same year, the Roger Charlton trained Sanglamore was redirected to the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2400m) to avoid his stablemate and Prince Khalid’s subsequent winner of the G1 Epsom Derby (2400m), Quest for Fame. Despite starting at 9.5/1, Sanglamore scored by a comfortable one and a half lengths before missing the remainder of the season due to injury.
Prince Khalid’s success in the French Classics continued throughout the early 2000s. Champion European two-year-filly Special Duty completed the unusual G1 1000 Guineas (1600m)/G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches in 2010 – a remarkable feat especially as she had crossed the line in second on both occasions before being promoted to first due to disqualification. In 2015, Prince Khalid achieved his final French Classic winner with New Bay in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2100m).
Despite producing Classic winners on both sides of the Channel in the late 1990s, victory in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe remained elusive for Prince Khalid until 2006. Rail Link avoided a Classic campaign after unseating on debut at Chantilly and came into the ‘Arc’ following victories in the Juddmonte Farms’ sponsored G1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) and traditional three-year-old trial race, the G2 Prix Niel (2400m). In a small field of eight runners, the colt was settled at the rear and came with a late run on the outside to beat Pride and Japanese superstar Deep Impact. Another ‘Arc’ victory followed in 2010 when Workforce became only the sixth horse to win the G1 Epsom Derby (2400m) and follow up in Europe’s most prestigious race.
The rest, as they say, is history. The racing world was not expecting to see another superstar so quickly after Frankel’s retirement in 2012 but were rewarded with the emergence of 2017 G1 Epsom Oaks (2400m) heroine Enable. Winner of two G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes (2017/18 – the only horse to have won two ‘Arcs’ at different racetracks – Chantilly and Longchamp), Enable was allowed to race until the end of her six-year-old season, epitomising Prince Khalid’s devotion and commitment to the horse-racing industry. Although his death will be a devastating blow for the sport, it seems fitting that Prince Khalid was able to see the excitement and anticipation invoked by Enable when racing fans needed it the most. He will be remembered as one of the most influential people to have graced the ‘sports of kings’ and his contribution will be an eternal legacy.
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