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Newmarket's racing community mourns the death of Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, aged 75

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The world of horseracing is in mourning after the death was announced yesterday of Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum, one of the most prominent figures in the sport.

Sheikh Hamdan was 75 and had been unwell for some months, undergoing surgery abroad in October.

The older brother of Sheikh Mohamed, he is regarded as having helped change the face of the sport across the world through his investment in sponsorship, equine property, and bloodstock.

Hamdan Al Maktoum, who has died aged 75. Picture by Mark Westley.
Hamdan Al Maktoum, who has died aged 75. Picture by Mark Westley.

Nick Patton, the managing director of Jockey Club Estates, paid tribute to him last night.

“The Jockey Club Estates team are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum.

“His contribution to the horseracing industry has been immeasurable.

“His legacy will forever live on as the Al Bahathri gallop was generously funded by him and named after the great filly.”

And Newmarket-based bloodstock agent Oliver St Lawrence described him as ‘one of life’s true gentlemen’.

“He had honour, loyalty, and was a real sportsman,” he said.

Sheikh Hamdan had horses in Newmarket with John Gosden, Sir Michael Stout and William Haggas.

Mr Gosden trained Lehan, which went on to win the 1,000 Guineas for Sheikh Hamdan in his famous blue and white silks.

And horses Green Desert, Dayjur, Battaash, Al Bahathri, Nashwan, and Unfuwain also carried the famous colours.

He had been a prominent figure in international racing for the past four decades and was a major breeder under the banner of his Shadwell Estates operation.

He bought the flagship breeding and racing stud, based near Thetford, in 1984.

Sheikh Hamdan served as deputy ruler of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates’ finance and industry minister, and spent millions of pounds a year on the sport.

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