Al-Thani is taking world by storm

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 December, 2011, 12:00am


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his global racing giant Godolphin still haven't won a Melbourne Cup and it took them more than a decade to finally capture the Hong Kong Vase with Mastery last year.

At 22, Sheikh Fahad al-Thani has now achieved both as an owner in his first full year in racing - but the young Qatari has no grand visions of matching the 'other' sheikh's racing empire.

Dunaden is one of 50 horse's Al-Thani owns in Europe and yesterday the French-trained five-year-old took his prize earnings to more than HK$40 million with his brave and brilliant triumph.

Al-Thani (pictured) has hit world racing like a whirlwind. He landed his first Group One success when filly Lightening Pearl won the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in September and the golden run has continued with Dunaden's international double.

Despite his almost instant success, the young royal said he had no aspirations of emulating the Godolphin empire.

'As Dunaden showed us, you don't have to have 200 horse to win big races,' he said. 'You just need to find the right horse, and with the team we have around us, with my racing manager David Redvers, we can really pick the good tried horses out.

'We're happy with our numbers and it's all about buying good horses. We'll probably buy another 10 for next year, but around 50 horses is where we'll probably stay for the next two or three years.'

Al Thani, who is the first super-rich owner to hit European racing in the last decade, paid tribute to Sheikh Mohammed's devotion to racing.

'Sheikh Mohammed has been in the game for so many years and without him racing would be in such a bad state,' he said.