Gold hopes Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell can keep the momentum at York showpiece

Sheikh Hamdan's long-serving Racing Manager praises involvement of Sheikha Hissa with the global stable

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Mostahdaf is one of the stars of Shadwell, the stable created by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai. — KT file
Mostahdaf is one of the stars of Shadwell, the stable created by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai. — KT file

Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Wed 23 Aug 2023, 2:04 PM

Three years ago the exciting Battaash brought up an unforgettable four-timer for the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai, at York’s historic Ebor meeting.

On Wednesday, as the ancient city in the north of England welcomes back the four-day festival whose origins date back to 1843, a whole new generation of equine stars from Shadwell, the global racing and breeding empire created by Sheikh Hamdan, will hope to build on that extraordinary success.

The Shadwell team is led by stable flag bearer and Royal Ascot hero Mostahdaf, who runs in the £1million Juddmonte International Stakes (2,400m), won last year in scintillating style by another Shadwell superstar, Baaeed.

Summing up the expectation of the Newmarket-based operation, Racing Manager Angus Gold told Khaleej Times from England in an exclusive interview: “It’s always a fantastic meting up at York. They do a fantastic job up there and the prize money is exceptional as is the atmosphere, which is second to none.

“So, hopefully, we’re going up there with a relatively strong team headed by Mostahdaf. It’s going to be an exciting race looking at it on paper and taking on the likes of Paddington (winner of four Group 1 this season) Nashwa, and the The Foxes.

Angus Gold
Angus Gold

“It is well documented that Mostadaff likes good ground, so in a perfect world, we hope they don’t get too much room over there is too much rain,” he added.

“We’ve kept him fresh since his great win at Ascot as he’s a horse that likes to be kept fresh, and the team know him well. He has had only one runs since he wintered in Dubai. So if we can get him back to that form (Ascot), I think he’ll give a good account of himself.”

Another horse that is held in the highest regard by Gold, and is on a three-race winning streak, is Al Husn. The four-year-old daughter of Dubawi takes her chances in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1), the feature event over a mile and three on Thursday.

“Al Husn won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood this month, but the question is whether this race has come too soon for her,” said Gold. “But she’s such a tough filly, and we’re in a lucky position that she’s already a Group 1 winner, so we don’t have to chase a Group 1 win, so to speak.

“But we will love to run her as much as possible and try her over a longer trip. Should Roger (Varian, trainer) feel that it has come too soon, we’ll probably wait and run her at the Prix de l’Arc meeting at Longchamp (Oct 1),” he added.

“Roger is also keen to take her to the Breeders’ Cup meeting (Nov 4 Santa Anita), so we’ll have to see how it goes.”

Asked to share his sentiments on Shadwell’s history of successes at York, and in particular the year Battaash anchored four Shadwell wins, Gold said: “It was very special because Sheikh Hamdan was there that day.

“Battaash was fantastic. He’s quite a character and could his own thing occasionally. But he proved himself that day. And then we were lucky with Baaeed as well last year.”

Gold, who has spent close to four decades with Shadwell, talked about the transition that the stable had to endure following the death of Sheikh Hamdan in March 2021.

“We’re very fortunate that Sheikha Hissa and the whole family has been supportive of Shadwell,” he said.

“It was terribly sad that Sheikh Hamdan died because he was so involved in the racing and breeding and, as we know, he built up a huge operation over the past 40 years or so.

“Obviously, we needed to hear from the family, and what they wanted and what size of operation they were looking at to carry on. Nothing happened immediately, but they wanted to reduce the numbers to get it down to a more manageable operation. And we complied with their wishes,” he added.

Gold was also quick to express his admiration for the role played by Sheikha Hissa, who continues to support her father’s life-long ambitions.

“Sheikha Hissa is very involved, and we keep her well informed with what’s going on at Shadwell and all the trainers who work for Shadwell,” he said.

“We give her all the information we possibly can regarding what options we have for each horse and help point her in the right direction. We’re pleased to have her involved, and its fantastic Sheikha Hissa has taken on the mantle and hopefully will continue for the next 40 years.”


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