According to a recently published news report, both the Maktoum family and equestrian racing, play a major role in developing mutual relations between the UAE and the UK — thereby increasing investment and cooperation. The party largely responsible for such progress is the Maktoum family, whose exact contribution made to British sport by its investment in horse-racing is difficult to gauge. According to the report, the UAE is a key player on the British sports scene.
“Horses have always held great interest for the Maktoum’s, and there is no denying that the sport has played a major role in developing mutual relations between the UAE and UK — a relationship that has significantly helped boost investment and cooperation between the two friendly countries. To find the catalyst to this historical association of sporting minds, one need look no further than a race meet which took place at Newmarket racecourse on May 5, 1967.”– Report
The report describes the English 2,000 Guineas, one of the most prestigious races for three-year-old horses. The 1967 event was attended by (now) Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and (now) Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. At the time of the meet, back in 1967, Sheikh Mohammad was studying at Cambridge University at the Bell Language School.
“For the record, the race was won by a horse called Royal Palace, ridden by Gary Moore, but, more significantly, what Sheikh Mohammad and Sheikh Hamdan witnessed on the day would consume their interest and in due course, result in both brothers building historic racing empires that would extend across the UK and the rest of the world. The historic home of racing, Newmarket, houses the now famous Godolphin Stables created by Sheikh Mohammad and his Darley Stud thoroughbred management and breeding operation, which provides employment for more than 300 people. Darley headquarters at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, and together with Gainborough Stud, provide jobs and revenue for hundreds of industry people while helping raise the profile of the breeding and horse management side of the sport.” — Report
Sheikh Maktoum can be credited for introducing Arabs to international horse racing. He and his brothers operate the highly successful Godolphin stables and under their patronage, Sheikh Mohammad sponsors the annual Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, which celebrate the vital role of stud and stable staff around the country.