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Juddmonte doyen Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah dead

9 min read
His Highness Prince Khalid bin Abdullah, one of the most successful owner/breeders in the history of the sport through his Juddmonte Farms dynasty, died on January 12 in his 84th year.

Cover image courtesy of Scoop Dyga

Prince Khalid’s famous green, pink and white silks have been immortalised in the annals of the sport, having been carried transatlantically by 118 Grade/Group 1 winners headed by champions like Frankel (GB), Dancing Brave (GB), Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) and Arrogate (USA) among many others. He campaigned over 500 stakes winners, of which he bred over 440.

Douglas Erskine Crum, Chief Executive Officer of Juddmonte, said on Tuesday: “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.”

Charlton leads tributes to Prince Khalid Abdullah

Roger Charlton, who trained Quest For Fame (GB) and Sanglamore (USA) to win The G1 Derby and G1 Prix du Jockey Club for Juddmonte in 1990, said on Sky Sports Racing: “I think the whole of the racing industry appreciates what Prince Khalid achieved with Juddmonte Farms. Life is full of luck and being in the right place at the right time and how lucky was I? He was a wonderful owner to deal with and I owe him everything. It’s a huge loss.

"He (His Highness Prince Khalid bin Abdullah) was a wonderful owner to deal with and I owe him everything. It’s a huge loss." - Roger Charlton

“He was always a great pleasure to talk to before a race and/or after a race, and of course he was hugely knowledgeable. He had huge passion for it and I think that’s really important. Any owner/breeder goes through rough patches, bad horses, bad stallions, but his passion was always there right to the end. It was marvellous that he had horses like Arrogate, Kingman, Frankel and Enable towards the end. It was a real testament to a fantastic operation.

“Generally speaking it’s fair to say that every trainer, jockey, breeder and owner in this country had immense respect for Prince Khalid. I don’t think too many people ever found fault with what he did. He was generous, in sponsoring some great races as well as owning horses. His life was full of great credit and he was very humble.

“He was a colossal contributor to racing. I shall personally miss him a lot and I’m forever grateful that I’ve been able to train the horses that I have.”

John Gosden, trainer of Enable, Kingman (GB) and Oasis Dream (GB), reflected: “He sparked an interest going racing in Paris in the 1950s and then some 15 or 20 years later decided to set up a breeding operation with Jeremy Tree as his advisor. What he created in the first 20 years, never mind 40 years, is beyond extraordinary, and to be a leading owner in Europe and America within the period he did it speaks bounds for his knowledge and his strategic approach. He knew the pedigrees of his horses inside out—you could never catch him out on pedigrees.

“He was the most charming man. He was incredibly humorous, steely, tough - you’d better be on your mettle with him—but the most amazing man to train for. We all had an awful lot of fun together because he enjoyed being with the horses. It was his passion and he always referred to it as his one great luxury.

"We all had an awful lot of fun together because he enjoyed being with the horses. It was his passion and he always referred to it as his one great luxury." - John Gosden

“Prince Khalid wasn’t particularly well while Kingman was racing but he was in Deauville when he won the Jacques le Marois. He didn’t come to the races but he came to the stables a couple of hours later and we stood the horse up for him and he stood there and looked at the horse, walked around him and patted him. He had the most wonderful affinity with horses. With Enable, he saw her in the Arc in 2018 and he enjoyed that very much but he was quite fragile by that stage and we never saw him at the races after that, but he watched every race on television.”

Dermot Weld, trainer of Emulous (GB) (Dansili {GB}) and Famous Name (GB), said: “I’d like to extend my sympathy firstly to his family. He is a huge loss to the racing industry because he was one of the pillars of the breeding industry in the world for the last 50 years. He was the man who raced Frankel, Kingman, Enable, and he gave us through this brilliance these wonderful horses to enjoy.

“Two words I’d like to say: when you talk about Juddmonte you talk about excellence, and when you talk about Prince Khalid you talk about loyalty. In this changing world this was a great quality that shone out from the man.”

Bob Baffert, trainer of G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic and G1 Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate (USA), told Sky Sports Racing: “He was definitely one of the titans of racing. He was such a gentleman, a really low-key kind of guy who trusted his trainers. The biggest compliment a horse trainer in America could get is if he wanted you to train his horses.”

Lady Jane Cecil, trainer of G1 Champion S. winner Noble Mission (GB), reflected on the longstanding relationship between Prince Khalid and her late husband, Sir Henry Cecil. She said: “They had a special friendship which meant a great deal to Henry. They were very different but they got on very well and I think Henry amused the Prince.

“(The Prince) was so loyal. Imagine him allowing me to train Noble Mission. He’s Frankel’s full brother and with him allowing me to do that, and being loyal and supportive, which of course was an extension of his loyalty to Henry, it meant that Warren Place had that fantastic day at Ascot which will live with me forever.”

Frankie Dettori: “He was a great of the sport. I had one of my early Group 1s 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.

“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.”

Frankie Dettori aboard Enable (GB) after winning the Breeders' Cup

Tom Queally, rider of Frankel (GB): “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.”

Tom Magnier: "Obviously, it's a big loss to racing, Prince Khalid bin Abdullah was not only a gentlemen, he helped shape our industry. If you look back on some of the greatest breeders of all time, he's definitely one of them. The silks are famous worldwide and he has been one of the best. We have had Danehill and Frankel and Arrogate win in them. It’s a huge loss for racing, but he's left a remarkable stamp on the industry.

"The silks are famous worldwide and he has been one of the best. We have had Danehill and Frankel and Arrogate win in them. It’s a huge loss for racing, but he's left a remarkable stamp on the industry." - Tom Magnier

André Fabre: “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. 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."

Chad Brown via Twitter: “Prince Khalid was the definition of class and sportsmanship. It was one of the greatest honours of my life to be asked to train horses for him…the phone call every trainer has dreamed of getting. He raised the bar to unthinkable heights, always putting the horse first. RIP.”

Statement from Breeders’ Cup: “Prince Khalid bin Abdullah was one of the world’s most passionate and influential leaders in Thoroughbred racing and breeding, and one who exemplified great dignity and class. Prince Khalid was an early advocate and staunch supporter of the Breeders’ Cup program and became one of its most ardent and successful owners. Under the banner of Juddmonte Farms, racing fans were thrilled by the magnificent performances of Arrogate and Enable, among the Prince’s seven Breeders’ Cup champions, and by the brilliance of Frankel, and many others on the international scene. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and to his dedicated management and staff.”