Prince Khalid Abdullah
© Photo Healy Racing
Leading owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah has died, his Juddmonte Farms operations confirmed.
The Saudi prince has owned and bred some of the greatest equine names the sport has ever seen — with his famous green, pink and white silks carried by the likes of Frankel, Dancing Brave and dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Enable.
Abdullah’s colours were carried to victory by more than 500 Stakes winners, of which he bred over 440 — including 118 Group or Grade One winners, of which he bred 102.
Douglas Erskine Crum, CEO Juddmonte, said in a statement: “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.”
Abdullah enjoyed his first winner more than 40 years ago, before going on to huge success, winning each of the five British Classics on multiple occasions, including three Derby successes with Quest For Fame (1990), Commander In Chief (1993) and Workforce (2010).
He also won the Arc six times in total, and was crowned champion owner in Britain three times.
Teddy Grimthorpe took over as Abdullah’s racing manager in 1999, with his tenure encompassing the Frankel and Enable days in particular, and he said: “I am very sad. He was a monumental man for the world.”
Abdullah’s multitude of winners also included the likes of Kingman, Oasis Dream, Known Fact and Rainbow Quest — with his British breeding operation based at Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket, and his American Juddmonte farms located near Kentucky.
Annamarie Phelps, chair of the British Horseracing Authority, paid tribute to an “exceptional man”, who died at the age of 83.
She said: “It’s extremely sad to hear of the passing of Prince Khalid Abdullah.
“His name and distinctive racing silks will forever be associated with some of the greatest horses and most unforgettable moments in the sport’s history, from Dancing Brave, to Frankel, Enable and many more.
“His Juddmonte breeding operation has also been a feather in British racing’s cap for many years — and those exceptional bloodlines, which will be enjoyed for generations to come, are a priceless gift to our sport from an exceptional man.
“He will be sadly missed by the racing world.”
Lady Jane Cecil, whose late husband Sir Henry Cecil trained the mighty Frankel, said she owed Abdullah “so much”.
“When Teddy Grimthorpe rang to tell me, I was so sad at the news. Prince Khalid was kind and a gentleman and I just owe him so much,” she told Sky Sports Racing.
“The loyalty he gave Henry, I can’t tell you how important that was, especially during those quiet years and then his belief in Henry to send him Frankel. I’ll always be grateful that Henry had him to train in his final years.
“Henry and Prince Khalid did have a special friendship which meant a great deal to Henry. Obviously he was his trainer, but they did have lunch together in London. They were different but they got on very well.”
When Sir Henry Cecil died in 2013, his wife Lady Cecil took over the reins at Warren Place. Prince Khalid kept Frankel’s brother Noble Mission in training there and was rewarded with an emotional victory in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2014.
“He was so loyal. Imagine allowing me to train Noble Mission. He’s Frankel’s full-brother,” Lady Cecil went on.
“Allowing me to do that — being loyal and supportive which was an extension of his loyalty to Henry — Warren Place had that fantastic day at Royal Ascot which will live with me forever."