MIKE de Kock paid tribute on Wednesday to the stable’s long-time patron, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and one of the world’s most accomplished racehorse owners, who has passed away.
His brother, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, shared the news through the official Twitter account.
Mike said: “Firstly, we extend our condolences to his family and to the people of Dubai, where he was loved and revered for having time for everyone around him. From personal experience too, Sheikh Hamdan was a kind and approachable man. He had an extraordinary knowledge of racing and breeding and was a world leader in both industries for four decades.
“Sheikh Hamdan not only employed, and still employs, thousands of people in what were his many and varied interests, but he touched all of their lives and will be sorely missed.
“Here in South Africa his investments in racing and breeding over the last 15 years were of unmeasurable value to us and changed the course of many lives, including my own. We are deeply saddened by his passing.”
Sheik Hamdan started racing with Mike in 2007 and enjoyed remarkable success around the world with the likes of UAE Guineas Trial winner Zanzamar, Mushreq (Al Fahidi Fort), Mujaarib (Emperors Charity Mile), Soft Falling Rain (UAE 2000 Guineas, Godolphin Mile), Royal Ridge and Jet Legend.
In South Africa, they won a host of Gr1’s with runners like Soft Falling Rain, Ertijaal, Soqrat, Majmu, Mustaaqeem, Rafeef, Hawwaam and indeed most recently Malmoos, who has one leg to go to win the 2021 Triple Crown – the SA Derby will sadly be a race Sheikh Hamdan won’t see.
Sheikh Hamdan was born on December 25, 1945 and was the second son of the late ruler Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
He received his early education in the Emirates, then attended Bell School of Languages, Cambridge. He and Sheikh Mohammed controlled 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.
Introduced to thoroughbred flat racing while he was a student in the United Kingdom, Sheikh Hamdan launched his racing interests there in 1981. His Shadwell stabe over the years invested heavily in both racing and breeding and acquired major operations in the UK, Ireland and the United States.
His horses competed in those major centres as well as in other parts of the world like Australia, Dubai, the United States South Africa. 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, the 2006 Horse Of The Year and Dubai World Cup winner, Invasor, more recently Frosted, Tamarkuz, Taghrooda and Hawwaam.
He 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 five times including in 2021, when he beat his brother’a Godolphin operation into second, racking up 108 wins and £2,274,667.30 in stakes.
Aside from his extensive thoroughbred interests he was also considered one of the world’s authorities on breeding horses and was 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 Hamdam was well known for his humanitarian interests and fondness of culture, literature and scientific developments.