Tributes paid as Saudi horse racing owner Prince Khalid dies aged 83

Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Saud passed away peacefully on January 12. (Juddmonte Farms)
Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Saud passed away peacefully on January 12. (Juddmonte Farms)
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Updated 13 January 2021

Tributes paid as Saudi horse racing owner Prince Khalid dies aged 83

Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Saud passed away peacefully on January 12. (Juddmonte Farms)
  • His passing was announced “with great sadness” by his Newmarket-based operation Juddmonte Farms

LONDON: The world of horse racing has paid tribute to Saudi owner Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Saud, who died on Tuesday aged 83. 

As owner of the hugely accomplished Juddmonte Farms breeding operation, he became one of the most prolific owner-breeders the sport has ever known — able to count legendary horses such as Frankel, Enable and Dancing Brave among his long list of successes.

His passing was announced “with great sadness” by his Newmarket-based operation, with CEO Douglas Erskine Crum saying: “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.”

Crum added: “His contribution to the development of the thoroughbred will have long-lasting effects.”

While not the first owner from the Middle East, Prince Khalid quickly became the region’s first significant winner and one of its best-known when early in his career he landed his first Classic victory in the 1980 running of the 2000 Guineas on Known Fact.

From that point, with more than 100 Group 1 winners and dozens more Classics wins under his belt, Prince Khalid and Juddmonte became arguably one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest sporting success stories, his famous green-white-pink silks becoming synonymous with some of the most historic moments in horse racing.

In the ensuing years, his operation expanded to Ireland and Kentucky in the US, and continued to produce winning thoroughbreds for the next three decades — a consistent success described by Simon Mockridge, his UK stud director, as “probably one of the jewels of Saudi Arabian history.”

Arab News spoke to Mockridge when visiting Juddmonte’s Suffolk headquarters Banstead Manor last year, and he was full of praise for the prince’s efforts.

“I think globally, if you look at the impact he has had in the 40 years he has been in operation, he has managed to win every English Classic and every French Classic,” Mockridge said.

“And to top it all off, he has had in excess of 500 stakes (the most prestigious and valuable races contested by the best horses) winners. So you have to look at him and say that for a medium-sized breeding operation, he has certainly taken the racing and breeding operations to a very high level.”

READ MORE: Jewel in Kingdom’s sporting crown Juddmonte Farms eyeing Saudi Cup glory

If Prince Khalid’s own attention to detail was a cornerstone of his success, it was matched by his connection with, and his loyalty to, the trainers he paired with.

He worked with several of the greats throughout his career, most notably the late Sir Henry Cecil, with whom he won the 2011 running of the 2000 Guineas on Frankel and with whom he shared a great friendship.

Speaking ahead of yet another Frankel victory at Royal Ascot in 2012, Sir Henry waxed lyrical about the standard of horse Prince Khalid was able to produce, saying: “His horses, a lot of them are just taking a bit of time, but they’re worth waiting for.”

John Gosden, who has also had a string of successes training Juddmonte horses, said: “Prince Khalid first enjoyed going racing in the 1950s as a young man in Paris. This sparked his bold and thorough plan to establish a breeding operation in the late 1970s, an illustration of his brilliant mind.”

Gosden added: “In the period of 20 years, he established himself as both a European and American champion breeder. His charming and humorous manner was coupled with a great strategic approach, both in business and in his horse racing and breeding operation.

“He was a very private and patrician gentleman and a very strong family man, for whom it has been a great honor and privilege to train for 38 years.”

Like fellow members of royal families, such as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum — who offered condolences to the Al-Saud family on Tuesday — and other prolific owners, racing was a passion for Prince Khalid.

That passion for the sport, for its animals and for the people involved was something that shone through whenever the prince spoke about racing.

And while his victories are forever recorded in the history books and etched in the collective memory of racing fans everywhere, it will be that passion, and his loyalty to those who worked closely with him, that will be most remembered with his passing.

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller
Updated 25 January 2021

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller

Man Utd get better of Liverpool in five-goal thriller
  • The English champions lost a league game at Anfield for the first time

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom: Bruno Fernandes’s stunning free-kick inflicted more misery on Liverpool as Manchester United progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a thrilling 3-2 win at Old Tafford on Sunday.

Both sides struggled to create chances in a cagey 0-0 draw when they met in the Premier League last weekend.

But there was no repeat of that caution in a wide-open contest that ended Liverpool’s hopes of a first domestic cup win under Jurgen Klopp for another season.

The English champions lost a league game at Anfield for the first time in nearly four years to Burnley on Thursday to fall six points behind United at the top of the table.

In response, Klopp named a strong side despite making five changes as Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino returned.

Liverpool’s only goals in their previous five games came against an Aston Villa youth team in the last round of the FA Cup after Dean Smith’s side were struck down by a coronavirus outbreak.

But shades of the side that stormed to a first league title in 30 years last season were restored even if Klopp’s wait for a first win at Old Trafford goes on.

Firmino and Salah combined perfectly for the opener on 18 minutes as the Brazilian’s pass opened up the United defense and the Egyptian provided a dinked finish over Dean Henderson.

United have made a habit of coming from behind to win this season and took just eight minutes to hit back.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Fernandes a rare rest from the start, but still picked a side packed with firepower featuring Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba.

Rashford’s raking cross-field pass just evaded James Milner and Greenwood did not look like a striker lacking confidence as he fired past Alisson Becker for his first goal in 11 games.

A number of injuries to center-backs have disrupted Liverpool’s season with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez expected to miss the rest of the season, while Joel Matip has struggled to stay fit.

Klopp has been forced to field two midfielders in Jordan Henderson and Fabinho together at the heart of the defense in recent weeks and the performance of 19-year-old Rhys Williams showed why the German has been reluctant to rely on his young center-backs.

Williams failed to cut out Greenwood’s through ball for Rashford three minutes into the second half and the England international composed himself before slotting past the advancing Alisson.

This time, United’s momentum was short-lived as Milner should have levelled for Liverpool when he spooned a glorious chance over from close range, but quickly made amends by teeing up Salah to smash home his second just before the hour mark.

Both managers turned to their match winners off the bench for the final half-hour as Klopp first turned to Sadio Mane before Fernandes made his entrance.

Trent Alexander-Arnold stung the palms of Henderson, who then saved twice from Salah as Liverpool’s attack began to click back into gear.

But it was Fernandes who won the game with a brilliant free-kick 12 minutes from time.

This week will be the first anniversary of the Portuguese’s arrival from Sporting Lisbon that has transformed United’s fortunes.

A year ago, United trailed Liverpool by 30 points in the Premier League having played two games more.

The past seven days have shown they are now more than a match for their old rivals.

Fernandes’s strike was a worthy winner of a thrilling tie as he used Pogba to unsight Alisson and fired the ball low into the Brazilian’s left-hand corner.

United will face West Ham in the last 16 next month.