Khalid Abdullah plans to disperse part of his global Juddmonte equine operation, the organization's chief executive confirmed to The Blood-Horse.
Between farms at Henley and Tetbury in Great Britain, as well as operations in Ireland and Kentucky, the Saudi prince owns more than 900 horses including undefeated Frankel, who is now in his first season standing at Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket and has been valued at £100 million.
Juddmonte Farm stallions also include Oasis Dream, Dansili, and Rail Link, and U.S. stallions First Defence and Mizzen Mast . The operation foals about 120 European homebreds and about 65-70 homebreds in the U.S. every year and has bred 80 grade/group I winners.
Over the last month, industry rumors in England hinted of a significant sale to the Qatari Sheikh Joaan Al Thani, who has been making a significant impression on the European racing scene. Juddmonte released a statement which should dispel any misinformation and clarify the scope and intent of the planned dispersal. Douglas Erskine-Crum, chief executive for Juddmonte, said the move did not signal a withdrawal from the sport by Prince Abdullah.
Erskine-Crum told The Blood-Horse he was unable to quantify the extent of the dispersal or whether Frankel would be part of the sale since they are in the very early stages of a "perfectly logical review" of Abdullah's holdings. He went on to say that the dispersal would take place later this year, but as to specific offerings "what they are and where they will be sold" has not yet been determined.
"His Highness has decided to make some disposals but what they are and what the plan is has yet to be decided," Erskine-Crum told the Daily Mail. "It is early days and we are just beginning to think about it. It certainly does not mark a complete exit from the sport. His Highness' interest in racing is still extremely high."
Abdullah, born in 1937, entered racing in the late 1970s and won his first classic with Known Fact in the 1980 Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I).
In the U.S., most Juddmonte horses are trained by Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott, although fellow Hall of Famer Bob Baffert also recently received some 2-year-olds to train for the North American side of the operation. Among Mott's current top horses for Juddmonte are 3-year-old fillies Emollient, winner of the April 6 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, and Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) victress Close Hatches, runner-up in the May 27 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park last time out.
Historic winners for Juddmonte in the U.S. include 2003 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victor Empire Maker, as well as Intercontinental, Flute, Sightseek, Banks Hill, Ventura, and Honest Lady. Late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel conditioned the North American Juddmonte runners until his death. The operation has won 11 Eclipse Awards, including outstanding owner in 1992 and 2003, and outstanding breeder in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2009.
In Europe, Juddmonte runners make up the main part of Sir Henry Cecil's stable, while John Gosden, Andre Fabre, Dermot Weld, Roger Charlton, and Charlie Hills also condition runners for the Prince.
Juddmonte has won the Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) four times, with Dancing Brave (1986), Rail Link (2006), Rainbow Quest (1985), and Workforce (2010).
Lenny Shulman contributed to this report.