Dubai: The horse racing world was left in shock following Shadwell’s decision to ‘scale down’ operations in the Southern Hemisphere and ‘sell off’ star horses in Australia and South Africa over the next few months.
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, Shadwell is one of the world’s biggest and most influential racing and breeding operations.
Speaking to the media during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of Sheikh Hamdan’s Office and Shadwell Chairman, said the decision was ‘wise’ and ‘timely.’
“it is with sadness that I can confirm that Sheikh Hamdan has decided to pull out or scale down all his activities in Australia and South Africa,” Al Sayegh said.
“It seems to me that this is wise decision taken at the right time.”
Sheikh Hamdan’s shock decision to shut down the Thoroughbred holdings of Shadwell Stud Australasia and that of South Africa, and to auction all his horses will have major financial implications on the horse racing industry in this part of the world.
It is believed that Sheikh Hamdan is unable to be directly involved with his core operations in the South Hemisphere, as he has been in the past.
Sheikh Hamdan has been a major player in Australia where he has won the Melbourne Cup withAt Talaq (1986) and Jeune (1994).
Shadwell’s racing manager Angus Gold Bloodhorse: “Sheikh Hamdan has had a long and successful involvement in Australia (and) as those who know him will attest, Sheikh Hamdan is very much a ‘hands on’ man who likes to be closely involved with the Shadwell horses.
“(However) due to his commitments in the UAE, he has not been able to devote as much time as he would like to following their horses in Australia.
“As a result, and as part of a global review of the Shadwell operation, it has been decided to wind down its racing and breeding operations in the southern hemisphere over the next few months,” Gold added.
“The entire Australian yearling crop will be offered at public auction at the various upcoming sales, with the cream of them going to the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, and the breeding stock will all be sold at the Magic Millions Breeding Stock Sale at the end of May — the horses in training will gradually be dispersed in due course.”
Last year Sheikh Hamdan, was crowned leading owner in Great Britain with 112 winners carrying his prestigious blue and white silks to victory and amassing £2,309,194 in prize-money in the process.
It was the seventh time that Sheikh Hamdan has been designated champion owner in Britain following 1990, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2005, 2014 and now 2020.