What is Shadwell Racing?

Shadwell Racing is the horse racing business of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy tuler of Dubai and brother of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and founder of Godolpin. Sheikh Hamdan developed an interest in horse racing while studying at the Bell School of Languages in Cambridge in the late Sixties and his now familiar blue and white colours were first carried on a British racecourse in 1980.

Four years later, in 1984, Sheikh Hamdan purchased the 6,000-acre Shadwell Estate in Thetford, Norfolk which, following the construction of the Nunnery Stud, in 1987, would become the British base for one of the most highly regarded horse racing and bloodstock operations in the world. In the intervening three decades or so, Sheikh Hamdan has invested heavily in both aspects of the business and the Nunnery Stud has been home to illustrious racehorses and stallions alike.

Indeed, even in the face of formidable competition from the likes of Coolmore and Godolphin, to name but two, Sheikh Hamdan has been Champion Owner in Britain six times, most recently in 2014. Notable runners over the years have included 2000 Guineas, Derby, Coral-Eclipse Stakes and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1989 and Dayjur, dubbed ‘the world’s fastest horse after winning the King’s Stand Stakes’, Nunthorpe Stakes, Ladbroke Sprint Cup and Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in 1990. Much more recently, Baataash has continued to fly the flag for Sheikh Hamdan, winning the Prixe de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in 2017, Numthorpe Stakes in 2019 and King’s Stand Stakes in 2020, among other high-profile races.

Who was John Dunlop?

John Dunlop, who retired from the training ranks at the end of the 2012 Flat season and died in July, 2018, at the age of 78, after a long illness, was a doyen of British horse racing for nearly half a century. Born in Tetbury, Gloucestershire on July 10, 1939, Dunlop became assistant trainer to Gordon Smyth at Castle Stables in Arundel, West Sussex in 1963. Two years later, in 1965, Smyth moved to Heath House Stables in Lewes, East Sussex, on the retirement of John ‘Towser’ Gosden and Dunlop took over the licence as private trainer to Bernard Fitzalan-Howard,16th Duke of Norfolk, and his wife, Lavinia.

Dunlop had the distinction of saddling Hatta, the first British winner in the now familiar maroon and white silks of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at Brighton in 1977. In 1983, he also saddled British Horse of the Year Habibti to win the July Cup, William Hill Sprint Championship, Vernons Sprint Cup and Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp. Dunlop was Champion Trainer just once, in 1995, but, at the peak of his powers, had over 200 horses in his charge. All told, he trained over 3,500 winners, including ten British Classic winners. He never won the 2,000 Guineas, but won the 1,000 Guineas and the St. Leger three times apiece and the Derby and the Oaks twice apiece. Habibiti aside, arguably the best horse he ever trained was Shirley Heights, winner of the Derby and the Irish Derby in 1978.