Saeed Suhail

Dubai businessman Saeed Suhail has owned racehorses in Britain, predominantly with Sir Michael Stoute, since the 1980s. However, despite being a close friend and associate of the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, Suhail has never enjoyed the public profile, or equine firepower, typically associated with the Al Maktoum family. In fact, in those early days, Suhail remained something of a mystery outside his immediate circle, a situation not aided by his limited command of English.


In 2000, Suhail recorded his first, and second, victories at the highest level, with King’s Best in the 2,000 Guineas and Dilshaan in the Racing Post Trophy but, even so, in the season as a whole managed just three winners from 30 runners. From that point on, though, his blue and yellow silks became a familiar sight in major races in Britain and, in 2003, enjoyed his best season ever, numerically, with 17 winners. Helped, in no small part, by the victories of Kris Kin in the Dee Stakes and, particularly, in the Derby, he exceeded £1 million in total prize money for the first time.


In subsequent seasons, his fortunes ebbed and flowed and, while he collected several valuable prizes, including the Weatherbys Insurance £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes at Doncaster with Awinnersgame and the £250,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes at Newmarket with Kingship Spirit, both trained by Jeremy Noseda, in the autumn of 2008, he would have to wait another twelve years for his next Group 1 or Grade 1 winner. In October, 2015, Cannock Chase, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, won the Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine and, although he was one of just four winners that season, he sparked something of a revival for Suhail.


In 2017, Ballet Concerto won the John Smith’s Cup, Sovereign Stakes and Superior Mile Stakes, while Poet’s Word won the Glorious Stakes and would go on to taste Group 1 success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2018. Indeed, in 2018, Suhail enjoyed his most successful season ever, in pecuniary terms, with over £1.5 million in total prize money.

Qatar Racing Limited

Qatar Racing Limited is a subsidiary of QIPCO Holding, a leading private investment company in the State of Qatar, on the west coast of the Persian Gulf, and was founded in 2012. QIPCO Holding, in turn, is owned by six brothers, who are cousins of the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Qatar Racing represents their racehorse ownership interests. Another brother, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani is the chairman of Qatar Racing, which has horses in training not just in Britain and Ireland, but around the world.


Indeed, the claret with gold braid racing colours of Qatar Racing have been increasingly familiar in 2018, thanks in large part to Roaring Lion, trained by John Gosden, who finished third in the Derby before winning the Coral-Eclipse, the Juddmonte International Stakes, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. At the time of writing, Roaring Lion is due to contest the Breeders’ Cup Classic, on dirt, at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, with retained jockey Oisin Murphy taking the ride.


Roaring Lion is the highest-rated horse owned by Qatar Racing in training in Britain and was, by far, the most successful, with £1.98 million in total earnings in 2018. However, Lightning Spear, trained by David Simcock, also made a significant contribution, of over £738,000, after winning the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in August and running creditably in defeat in the Lockinge Stakes, the Queen Anne Stakes and the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp. In fact, the only time the seven-year-old failed to collect any prize money at all was when seventh of 13, beaten 7¼ lengths, behind Roaring Lion in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.


Roaring Lion and Lightning Spear aside, the next most successful horse of the season was Count Octave, trained by Andrew Balding, with earnings of just £77,000. In fact, the Frankel colt won only a lowly novice stakes races on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, but paid for his winter corn courtesy of subsequent placed efforts in the Jockey Club Stakes, the Queen Alexandra Stakes and the Lonsdale Cup.

Shadwell Racing

During his time studying in the UK, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Deputy Ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates), developed a love of racing. With understandably very deep pockets he set up his first stables here in 1981. As they say ‘the rest is history’ and his involvement in the sport has branched out in all directions since, with 8 stud farms (Nunnery Stud, Beech House Stud, Shadwell Farm in the US etc) and countless top mares and stallions. The operation as a whole is called Shadwell Racing.

His successes in the sport are in no short supply, and first came in a big way with Nashwan in the 80s (who was based at the Nunnery Stud). American-bred, British-trained Nashwan had major wins in the 2000 Guineas, Autumn Stakes, Epsom Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Champion jockey Willie Carson no doubt had a hand in these successes during that period of time.

Major wins at home and abroad soon followed as did Champion Owner titles, with British flat racing Champion Owner titles no less than four times. This should come as no surprise considering Al Maktoum’s operation has now has over 50 group one wins in Europe. With hundreds of horses in training in the UK trained by many of the top trainers of the day (Michael Stoure, Ed Dunlop, John Gosden etc) it’s no wonder that the wins just keep on coming.

Outside of Europe one of the biggest successes for Shadwell Racing has to be their purchase of Invasor who won US horse of the year and several major races including the Breeder’s Cup Classic in 2006.


J. P. McManus


To most fans of National Hunt racing, on either side of the Irish Sea, John Patrick ‘J.P.’ McManus requires little introduction. The Limerick-born billionaire – estimated to be worth over €2 billion – is the largest owner in the sport and his racing colours, green and gold hoops, ‘borrowed’ from South Liberties, a Gaelic Athletic Association club in his home county, are a familiar sight to racegoers.


Christened the ‘Sundance Kid’ by one British journalist, McManus enjoys a reputation as a feared, but fearless, gambler. His first winner at the Cheltenham Festival was Mister Donovan, trained by Edward O’Grady, in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 1982. In the intervening four decades, he has added a further 52 victories, making him far and away the most successful owner in the history of the Cheltenham Festival.


In terms of the Leading Trainer Award at The Festival, in recent years McManus has had to play second fiddle to Gigginstown House Stud, owned by another Irish billionaire, Michael O’Leary, but remains a ‘force majeure’ at Prestbury Park and elsewhere. Of the four main ‘championship’ races run at the Festival, McManus has won the Champion Hurdle seven times, with Istabraq (1998, 1999 and 2000), Binocular (2010), Jezki (2014) and Buveir D’Air (2017 and 2018), the Stayers’ Hurdle three times, with Baracouda (2002 and 2003) and More Of That (2014), and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Syncronised (2012).


Away from Cheltenham, McManus also won the Grand National in 2010 with Don’t Push It, who famously provided Sir A.P. McCoy with his one and only winner of the celebrated steeplechase at the fifteenth attempt. Down the years, McManus has won over a hundred Grade 1 races, including the Hennessy Gold Cup at Punchestown, the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and Aintree Hurdle, to name but a select handful.