About Sheikh Mohammed
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum is the ruler of Dubai, a man whose passion for horse racing and breeding has seen him emerge from relative obscurity in the late-1970’s to become one of the most influential people in world racing.
Fabulously wealthy, Mohammed has centred his racing interests on Great Britain where he has established a series of high-class stud farms standing some of the best stallions in the world, including at the Dalham Hall Stud (Darley Stud) where the likes of Authorised, Cape Cross, Dubawi, Exceed and Excel, New Approach, and Shamardal are amongst a regal selection of former high-class racehorses whose bloodlines are now being passed on to future generations.
Sheikh Mohammed has also established the Darley breeding empire in Australia and the US, while his originally famous maroon and white racing colours have been substituted over the last decade-and-a-half by the Godolphin blue, the well known silks of the Dubaian royal’s modern racing empire that has swept the board in most of Europe’s top races, with the notable exception of the Epsom Derby.
It was in his original colours that the likes of the great filly Pebbles, as well as fillies’ Triple Crown winner Oh So Sharp (1985), Diminuendo, and the flying grey Indian Skimmer, all built Sheikh Mohammed’s reputation as an owner/breeder alongside his top colts like Belmez, Old Vic, Singspiel and Pennekamp.
In the mid-1990’s Godolphin began to race many household names who have become internationally recognised horses such as Dubai Millenium, Farhh, Balanchine, Fantastic Light, Daylami, Dubawi and many, many more.
Godolphin’s success, with trainer Saeed bin Suroor at the forefront of the rise, tallied with the appointment of the great Frankie Dettori as first jockey to the team and between them they clocked up more than 100 Group 1 victories around the globe until Dettori’s shock dismissal from his role in 2012 after 19 years at the top.
Dettori was replaced by the young French star Mickael Barzalona, who in turn was joined by Brazilian Silvestre de Sousa, and more recently wily veteran Keiren Fallon – a former British champion jockey – on the Godolphin roster.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though for the Sheikh, in particular in 2013 when his private trainer Mahmoud al Zarooni was found guilty of using anabolic steroids on many of the Godolphin horses, a huge embarrassment to the organization once the deliberate cheating was revealed. Mohammed accepted Zarooni’s immediate resignation and insisted he knew nothing of the skulduggery , although all concerned with Godolphin had always been at pains to remind anyone listening that the Sheikh is personally involved in most aspects of the training of his horses.
Arguably Sheikh Mohammed’s biggest achievement has been in establishing Dubai as a major international racing venue, first with the excellent Nad al Sheba racetrack, and more recently with Meydan, a stunning new course that reportedly cost more than $2 billion to build , and which is the home of the Dubai World Cup in March every year.
Mohammed’s team is also reportedly involved in the rapid development of horse racing on mainland China, a country seen as the potential new and biggest ever frontier for the international racing industry  and in which Dubai already appears to have major connections.
The Sheik´s power makes him a ruler amongts horse race breeding and racing, but the owners empire remains with Coolmore Partners.
-  telegraph.co.uk, Sheikh Mohammed: I have banned trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni for life after steroids scandal, 2014
-  theguardian.com, The $1.25bn Racecourse at Meydan in Dubai Opens for Business, 2010
-  wsj.com, China: The Next Big Horse-Racing Center?, 2014