DUBAI (UAE): Dubai’s deputy ruler Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 75, who has also been one of the most influential figures in international horseracing for decades has passed away. He had been unwell for months and had surgery done in October.
Sheikh Hamdan who was the brother of Dubai’s current ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has also been UAE’s long-serving finance minister.
Funeral prayers for Sheikh Hamdan will be restricted to family members due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai Media Office said.
Dubai has announced 10 days of mourning with flags to be flown at half-mast and closure of government institutions in the emirate for three days. Mourning the death, Dubai’s ruler said, “my brother, my support, my lifelong friend”. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, took to Twitter to express his grief. he wrote, “Today we lost one of the UAE’s faithful men after a life rich with giving and true patriotic work.”
Sheikh Hamdan established his first racing stable, Shadwell Racing, in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and built it into a racing empire with his horses in blue and white silks winning major international races. He owned eight stud farms worldwide, according to local media.
Last June, jockey Jim Crowley completed a treble on the opening day of Royal Ascot with Sheikh Hamdan’s Battaash, Motakhayyel and Nazeer.