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Prince Khalid Abdullah, the owner of outstanding racehorses around the world for more than 40 years, including Dancing Brave and the unbeaten Frankel in Britain, and major racing sponsor, has died at the age of 83.
His Juddmonte organisation, announcing his death on their website on Tuesday, paid tribute to an owner-breeder who bestrode the racing world, on both sides of the Atlantic, in his Saudi homeland and in Europe, but was rarely seen at the races in his latter years.
The Juddmonte tribute read: “One of the greatest ever owner/breeders in the history of the thoroughbred, his famous green, pink and white silks were carried by such immortals as Frankel, Dancing Brave, Arrogate and Enable. His colours were carried to victory by over 500 stakes winners, of which he bred over 440, including 118 Group One winners, of which he bred 102.”
Douglas Erskine Crum, chief executive of Juddmonte, 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.”
Roger Charlton, who joined Prince Khalid’s first trainer Jeremy Tree as assistant at the same time as the owner more than 40 years ago, paid tribute to the man responsible for starting his own training career in a blaze of glory. In his first season as master of Beckhampton in 1990, Charlton completed an unprecedented Derby double with horses from the prince’s academy, winning the Epsom classic with Quest For Fame after Sanglamore had won the Prix du Jockey Club, the French Derby three days earlier.
Charlton said: “My career wouldn’t have been what it is without his help. He gave an incredible boost to my fledgling career. His enthusiasm for racing never waned and was there to the end. The racing industry owes him a great debt as the head of a very influential and outperforming organisation.
“He understood the horse and racing so well and was very hands on. He was involved in all the plans and the results speak for themselves. His Juddmonte is a great example of how things should be done and his legacy will be felt for years to come.”
Prince Khalid enjoyed his first big success out of Beckhampton with his Keeneland Sales buy Known Fact, who was champion miler in 1980 after winning the 2,000 Guineas, on the disqualification of Nureyev, and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to add to his Middle Park win as a two-year old.
The top-class winners continued to flow in his distinctive green, pink and white silks for another 40 years, including the top two horses in Britain since official ratings began in Dancing Brave, the 2,000 Guineas, King George and Arc winner still remembered for his defeat in the Derby, and Frankel, winner of his 14 career races, 10 of them coming in Group One races.
He employed the top trainers, including Guy Harwood, Andre Fabre, Henry Cecil, Barry Hills, John Gosden, Pascal Barry, not forgetting Bobby Frankel and Bob Baffert, trainer of £13 million earner, Pegasus, and Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate in the United States, where he also had a Juddmonte breeding operation.
Enable, winner of three King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes before retirement at the end of last season, became the last on the overflowing Abdullah honours’ board.