Dubai: When the well-bred filly Raabihah won the Prix de la Seine at France’s Longchamp racecourse on May 14, not only was it trumpeting flat racing’s return since the shut down in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it also triggered a phenomenal year for one of the sport’s most influential figures.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, a pioneer in the world of horse racing and breeding, would sweep most the major races in Great Britain to end the year as the Champion Owner.
Sheikh Hamdan, whose horses run under the banner of Shadwell, the breeding empire that he established in 1981, won 112 races and amassed a staggering £2,309,194 in prize money.
It was the seventh time since 1990 that Sheikh Hamdan would receive the honour, eclipsing many of legendary owners in the process including Godolphin, the stable created by his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and the powerful Coolmore operation from Ireland.
While Godolphin finished a close second by sending out 126 winners for prize money totalling £2,091,243, Coolmore’s Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs John Magnier amassed £1,002,532 from the nine wins they achieved in the UK.
Major General Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, would make it a landmark year for the Al Maktoum Family by finishing a highly respectable fourth in the Owner’s title race with his 42 winners securing him £969,051.72.
Saudi Arabia’s Khalid. Abdullah brought up the fifth place with £939,963.96 in earnings from 49 winners.
Sheikh Hamdan’s top earner was the brilliant sprinter Battaash, a 2020 Cartier Award winner, who stormed home in the King’s Stand Stakes, King George Stakes and Nunthorpe during the year,
Another superstar that raced in Sheikh Hamdan’s famous blue and while silks was dual Group 1 winner Nazeef who won the Falmouth Stakes, Sun Chariot Stakes, Listed Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes and Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes.
Sheikh Hamdan’s third top-level winner in Britain in the past year was Mohaather landed a high-class renewal of the Sussex Stakes.
An imperious winner of the Group 2 Summer Mile, he has now retired to stand as a stallion at Nunnery Stud.
Other stars of Sheikh Hamdan’s championship season in 2020 included Enbihaar, a dual Group 2 winner in the Lillie Langtry Stakes and Lonsdale Cup; Hukum, who scored in the King George V Handicap and Geoffrey Freer Stakes; and Motakhayyel, successful in the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot and Bunbury Cup at the Newmarket July meeting.
Given this dominance and Shadwell’s prolific breeding operation 2021 promises to be another exciting year for Sheikh Hamdan.
Potential stars among his two-year-old team are Minzaal,
Winner of the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes and a close third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, Alkumait, the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes hero, Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes scorer Mujbar, and the unbeaten Zeyaadah, who won the Listed Montrose Fillies’ Stakes.
Sheikh Hamdan’s seven Champion wins came in 1990, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2005, 2014 and now 2020.