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The racing world is in shock following the death of leading owner and breeder Sheikh Maktoum Rashid Al Maktoum. The ruler of the emirate of Dubai suffered a heart attack whilst visiting Australia.

The late Sheikh Maktoum co-owned the Godolphin stables, one of the world’s most reputable racing establishments.  He was a popular figure, known to be a good loser as well as a good winner. After watching his first winner at Goodwood in 1977, Sheikh Maktoum went on to win the 2,000 Guineas, 1,000 Guineas, Vodafone Oaks and St Leger.

Sheikh Maktoum, 62, employed 10 trainers across the world including Ed Dunlop, Mark Johnston and Neil Drysdale to train the 250 Godolphin horses. Determined to improve the quality of bloodstock, Sheikh Maktoum bought five stud farms in Ireland and invested large sums in breeding.

But it was not only racing into which the late Sheikh Maktoum invested his time and money. He also played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Dubai Equestrian Club and was one of the brains behind the world’s highest paying show jumping competition, the Al Maktoum challenge.

Although there will be a period of state mourning in Dubai, the inaugural Al Maktoum Challenge (11-13 January) will continue as planned. Riders across the globe will battle for the world’s highest ever show jumping purse, an astonishing $1,250,000.  

Sheikh Maktoum will be succeeded by his brother Sheikh Mohammed.


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