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Racing mourns Maktoum

posted on 07/01/2006: 1655 views

Leading figures from the world of horse racing have paid rich tributes to Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his important role in promoting the industry. he Racing Post, the sport's leading publication quoted top racing officials and trainers in Britain as saying that Sheikh Maktoum, one of the world's top racehorse owners, had made a major contribution to the sport.

Trainer Ed Dunlop, who is based at the Gainsborough Stables in Britain, which were owned by Sheikh Maktoum, said: "It's very sad news, primarily for Sheikh Maktoum's family and all of Dubai. He was a wonderful man to work for ... Our thoughts go to his family. He will be sorely missed."

Joe Mercer, a former British champion jockey and Sheikh Maktoum's racing manager for the last 19 years, described the news of Sheikh Maktoum's death as a great shock. It's absolutely awful," he said. "Sheikh Maktoum really enjoyed his racing. He knew what was going on and was a very good man to work for.

"The whole Al Maktoum family have done a remarkable job for English racing. They bought stallions at the right price and invested a tremendous amount of money into the bloodstock business. They have been great for the industry."

Sheikh Maktoum owned several hundred racehorses around the world and had a total of 10 trainers working for him.

One of them, Mark Johnston, told the Racing Post: "It's a great shock. It's terrible and unbelievable. He did a huge amount for racing, not just in Dubai but worldwide."

In 1985, Sheikh Maktoum was elected an honorary member of Britain's prestigious Jockey Club, and the senior steward of the Club, Julian Richmond-Watson, also paid tribute to him. "Sheikh Maktoum made a hugely significant contribution to the sport of horseracing and British thoroughbred racing and breeding in particular," said Richmond-Watson. He bred and owned several champions, many of which went on to enjoy great success at stud. Along with other members of his family, he was a great sportsman who cared deeply about his horses.

"The majority of his racing interests were based in this country [Britain], and I believe he shared with the British racing public a love of horses, of racing and of the history and heritage the sport has in this country." he chairman of the British Horseracing Board, Martin Broughton, echoed the tributes of others by saying: "British racing has lost a tremendous patron and pioneering figure in Sheikh Maktoum. His sad death will be felt throughout the sport, but his legacy is sure to live on."

Similar expressions of sadness at the death of Sheikh Maktoum came from the United States, where he owned horse farms in Kentucky and had often attended the premier US horse racing event, the Kentucky Derby.

The commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, D.G. Van Clief Jr was quoted by the Associated Press as saying 'a visionary leader has been lost.'

Chinese racehorse owner and breeder Chen Qing, who owns horses bought from Sheikh Maktoum, told the Emirates News Agency: "Sheikh Maktoum had a huge impact on the horse-racing industry in Britain, Europe, the US, Australia and the UAE. His knowledge was enormous, and was something he shared with everyone who loved the sport. His death is a great loss and I offer my deepest condolences to his family and to the people of Dubai and the UAE." (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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