Sheikh Hamdan profile

HIS Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai is a big supporter of Mike de Kock’s stable and South African racing. He is featured in our Owner Profile this week.

Sheikh Hamdan is the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Minister of Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He is the second son of the late ruler, Rashid bin Saeed AlMaktoum. (1912–1990).

Born December 25, 1945, Sheikh Hamdan received his early education in the Emirates, then attended Bell School of Languages, Cambridge. He and his brother, Sheikh Mohammed, control the state-owned Dubai Ports World along with the  Dubai Holding Co and its many subsidiary companies which have wide ranging investments in hotels, apartment buildings, banking and finance, and healthcare facilities.  He is also the Minister of Finance and Industry.


Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Hamdan has been President of the Dubai Health Authority (formerly the Department of health and medical services) since its inception in 1969.  It now encompasses four main hospitals providing secondary and tertiary care, and a number of peripheral health clinics throughout the emirate providing comprehensive primary health care services to all the population.

Through the Al Maktoum Charity Foundation, the Sheikh has supported the development of the Dubai Medical College, enabling partnership with the Dubai Health Authority to deliver clinical undergraduate training. He has also been a keen advocate of continuous medical education, and has facilitated collaborative work with several UK institutions including Medical Royal Colleges.

Beyond the Dubai Emirate, Sheikh Hamdan has established a centre for cardiac surgery in the Yemen and a fully equipped maternity ward in Afghanistan. He is well known for his humanitarian interests and fondness of culture, literature and scientific developments.

Sheikh Hamdan is also considered one of the world’s authorities on breeding horses. He is well known for his passion for racing Arabian Horses. He was awarded an Appreciation Prize from the European Organization for Arabian Horses as the best owner of the Arabian Horses in the World.


Sheikh Hamdan pats  Soft Falling Rain, with jockey Paul Hanagan in the famous silks.

Introduced to thoroughbred flat racing while he was a student in the United Kingdom, Sheikh Hamdan launched his racing interests there in 1981. His stable is called Shadwell, and over the years he has invested heavily in both racing and breeding and has acquired major operations in the UK, Ireland and the United States. His horses compete in those major centres as well as in other parts of the world like Australia, Dubai and indeed South Africa. The Shadwell operation is managed by Angus Gold, who also works closely with the Sheikh’s trainers in countries around the globe.

Sheikh Hamdan’s first thoroughbred classic winner was Shicklah in Germany in 1982 and he’s owned many famous horses since, including the 1989 Epsom Derby winner Nashwan, Dayjur, Sakhee, Nayef and more recently the 2006 Horse Of The Year and Dubai World Cup winner, Invasor. The Sheikh has won 10 international classics, including the Belmont Stakes and two Melbourne Cups. He received the 2007 Eclipse Award in the US and has won the UK Champion Owner title four times.

In as far as his South African interest goes, the Sheikh started racing with Mike de Kock some five years  ago and has enjoyed considerable success with the likes of UAE Guineas Trial winner Zanzamar, Mushreq (Al  Fahidi Fort), Mujaarib (Emperors Charity Mile), Soft Falling Rain (UAE 2000 Guineas), Royal Ridge and Jet Legend.

In  April 2013, Sheikh Hamdan confirmed his commitment to South African racing when Shadwell purchased 11 well-bred yearlings  for Mike de Kock at the Inglis Easter Sale in  Sydney, Australia. He also buys regularly from South Africa’s major bloodstock Sales.

“It’s extremely satisfying to train horses for a man like Sheikh Hamdan, who is one of the most respected racehorse owners and breeders in the world. He’s investing millions in the South African racing industry with a view of securing top horses to compete in Dubai and elsewhere. Angus Gold, Jehan Malherbe and I spend hours at sales looking for the plums,” commented Mike de Kock earlier this year. 

Sheikh Hamdan has six children; three boys and three girls. He is the owner of  Windlesham Moor, a country house and former royal residence at Sunningdale,  Ascot in  England. It is used throughout the summer months (July to September) by its current owner, his family and other Arab dignitaries.

Photos by Andrew Watkins


Sheikh Hamdan Website
Gulf News
Breeders Cup  Website
Emirates Racing
UAE Government Websites