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BREEDING INSIGHTS: Prince Khalid Abdullah's legacy of greatness
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BREEDING INSIGHTS: Prince Khalid Abdullah's legacy of greatness
on 15 January 2021
Leo Powell looks back on four decades of success for Juddmonte and its horses

WHILE the death of Prince Khalid Abdullah is the closing chapter in a story of enduring and unceasing success, it is not the end. The foundations that he and his loyal team have laid, nurtured and enhanced over the past four decades will still be spoken about in another 40 years.

There have been many who have bred on an even bigger scale than Prince Khalid, but there are only a handful who could claim to have enjoyed success as he did. Horse for horse, were it possible to produce such statistics, he and the Juddmonte behemoth have probably been the most successful breeders at the top-end of the industry in the last half a decade.

Consider that, from a breeding perspective, he was responsible for over 110 Group or Grade 1 winners, and on average they won twice at that level. He also raced an occasional horse he purchased, and the shrewdness of that exercise is reflected in the successes of such as Known Fact, Dancing Brave and, in more recent times, the $560,000 yearling purchase, Arrogate.

If enduring success was one of the hallmarks by which Prince Khalid will be remembered, so too will his loyalty to, and theirs in return, those who worked with him. Last summer, when The Irish Field published a four-page special to celebrate the Prince’s 40 years at the top of the sport, and the first year of Juddmonte’s sponsorship of the Irish Oaks, the devotion of the team was acknowledged.

The context was Juddmonte’s chief executive Douglas Erskine Crum speaking about Enable. Philip Mitchell, who spent almost 30 years with the Prince, spoke to his boss about sending Enable’s dam Concentric to Nathaniel. Enable was foaled at Banstead Manor under the eye of Simon Mockridge, the farm’s now stud director and who last year was 40 years at Juddmonte, the longest-serving member of the team.

Almost as long with the team has been the man who raised Enable, Rory Mahon, and he has been succeeded at Juddmonte Farms Ireland by his son Barry. A relative junior on the team is Lord Grimthorpe who looks after the Prince’s racing affairs, and he has clocked up just over two decades in the role. Enable was trained by John Gosden and 2021 marks 38 years in the role of trainer for the late Prince.

At the time of Enable’s second Cartier Horse of the Year Award, Erskine Crum said, tellingly: “I would like to add that the whole Juddmonte team does not work for a company, we work for the most marvellous individual, Prince Khalid”, before adding “the future is bright for Juddmonte.”

The light that Prince Khalid shone on the work of the farms, the stallion and broodmare sheds, and the team itself, will have been dimmed with his passing, but the shadows he will cast on what has been a family of sorts will long remain.

Frankel – a jewel among many superstars

THE year just past saw Khalid Abdullah’s distinctive colours carried to Group 1 success by Siskin and Enable.

The classic win for the Ger Lyons-trained son of First Defence (another Prince Khalid homebred) came exactly 40 years after Known Fact won the Group 1 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Prince’s first classic winner – and one of just two that he did not breed.

When Wince won the 1000 Guineas in 1999, she completed Juddmonte’s achievement of breeding the winners of all five English classic races – within a 10-year period.

With these successes come honours, and few escaped Prince Khalid’s grasp. An astonishing 24 Cartier Awards found their way to the display cabinets of the Prince, among them the coveted personal award of merit.

His successes in the USA have seen him garner 17 Eclipse Awards, including five as leading breeder and four as leading owner. Breeders’ Cup victories, in less than two decades, have come from Banks Hill, Intercontinental, Midday, Arrogate, Expert Eye and Enable.

In 1993 Prince Khalid, thanks to Commander In Chief winning our Derby and Wemyss Bight the Oaks, was crowned champion owner in Ireland for the only time. This was an accolade he has claimed on three occasions in Britain and five times in France.

While the extensive list of Group and Grade 1 triumphs is great, it is fair to say that one horse, in recent times, has become synonymous with the Prince. Producing a horse of the calibre of Kingman, beaten once in eight starts, a brilliant miler and now a superior stallion, would be a lifetime dream for almost anyone in the business.

Yet, his achievements are overshadowed by those of a colt who thrilled us for three seasons, was trained by a much-lamented genius, and who went to stud with a perfect record in 14 starts. His name is Frankel.

This son of Galileo was the epitome of what a racehorse should be, and he will be regarded by all as one the very best in the history of racing. He now shares a place at stud with Kingman, alongside an elite group who are based at Prince Khalid’s European breeding headquarters in Banstead Manor Stud.

While his sixth crop are two-year-olds in 2021, Frankel is already sire of a dozen Group 1 winners, and time is likely record that his racecourse prowess was matched by his success as a stallion.

Blue hen mares are key to Juddmonte’s success

A SURVEY of breeders across the globe, were it to happen, would be odds-on to say that the most coveted families to get involved with would be those most closely associated with Prince Khalid’s Juddmonte operation.

The consistency they show, the opportunities the fillies get at stud, and the nurturing the stock receive from birth, all combine to present a Juddmonte-bred with the best start in life. Success follows success, and any pedigree page at the sales will be full of blacktype.

While this success extends to a number of families, Prince Khalid has been responsible for one of the two mares in history to breed five Group or Grade 1 winners, and two of the total of eight mares who bred four or five such winners. Consider too that the Aga Khan, another of history’s greatest owner-breeders, is also responsible for two of the eight.

Hasili was a granddaughter of the Cheveley Park Stakes winner Sookera, acquired from Robert Sangster when Juddmonte was being established. A listed winner at two, she went on at stud to breed Group and Grade 1 winners Banks Hill, Heat Haze, Intercontinental, Cacique and Champs Elysses, as well as Dansili, a Group 2 winner and influential sire whose son Zoffany died recently.

A Group 3 winner in England, Toussaud won the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap at Hollywood Park as a four-year-old. She started well at stud, her first foal, Chester House, winning the Arlington Million.

He was followed a year later by Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap winner Honest Lady, the dam of Siskin’s sire First Defence.

Grade 1 Secretariat winner Chiselling was next, while the Grade 1 quartet was completed by the best of them all, Empire Maker. Runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, that season he won the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, Florida Derby and Wood Memorial.

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