Becoming an owner in Britain

To own a racehorse in Britain and have your silks carried to glory upon Britain’s historic turf is to join a centuries-old tradition founded upon the thrill of the chase and a deep respect for the thoroughbred.

GBRI is a dedicated resource for internationals looking to begin their journey into ownership in Britain. International investors can feel secure that GBRI is an impartial, not-for-profit organisation, which is recognised by British racing’s industry bodies. They can trust that the organisation will guide and arm them with the knowledge, introductions and experiences to support their investment.

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JUNE 2021

Ahmad Al Shaikh

“I am proud I will run in the Derby for two years in a row,” says Ahmad Al Shaikh just over two weeks out from the 2021 renewal of Epsom’s blue riband event, and rightly so, since the feat is rarely achieved by any owner outside of those with international racing empires.

The UAE-based owner was, like the rest of us, absent in 2020 when Khalifa Sat and Tom Marquand carried his white and green silks to a second-place finish in the world’s most famous flat race. At the time of writing, Al Shaikh is determined he will fulfil the necessary quarantine requirements to be there in person to watch recent Group 3 Chester Vase winner Youth Spirit take his chance this time around.

Al Shaikh’s ownership journey in British racing got off to an auspicious start in the late 2000s. He selected David Simcock as the sole trainer of his burgeoning team, having noted that the Trillium Place trainer’s experience as assistant to Dick Hern, and only needed wait until the August of his first season to enjoy a Listed success courtesy of Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up purchase Desert Phantom.

The following season brought with it further Stakes success when Spirit of Dubai closed her account with a win in the Princess Royal Stakes. The filly has since gone on to become a notable broodmare under the Rabbah Bloodstock banner and has produced a number of homebred foals including 2018 Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes winner Emaraaty Ana, who Al Shaikh sold on to fellow UAE owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum towards the end of his two-year-old season.

In 2010, Al Shaikh took the decision to diversify his trainers, adding Ed Dunlop, Jim Boyle and Michael Bell to his roster. It was Bell who trained Al Shaikh’s Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes winner Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes runner-up Hoyam two years later in 2012.

So far, Al Shaikh has supported over 25 trainers up and down Britain. The success he has enjoyed over the last two seasons with Andrew Balding has unsurprisingly resulted in the Kingsclere-based handler having the lion’s share of the owner’s 15 horses in training this year, but original trainer Simcock, as well as Ed Walker, Charlie Hills, Karl Burke and newly established Daryl Holland, also number among his chosen trainers for 2021.

“My dream is the Derby”, Al Shaikh says. Whether or not the owner’s latest star can fulfil this dream is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: the white and green silks of the “Green Team” have become a very familiar and welcome sight on Britain’s racecourses.

As published in The Owner Breeder

Owner Breeder

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