All Hail The New Sheik On The Block

By: Ryan Clark
November 2nd, 2011

We’ve heard of Sheik Mohammed, we know about Sheik Hamdan but Sheik Fahad may well be the new royal we need to keep an eye on.

He’s the 22 year old that owns the 2011 Melbourne Cup champion Dunaden.

While the other two Sheik’s are from the United Arab Emirates, Fahad hails from the Qatari royal family.

At just 22 this was his first trip to Flemington and he sure made it a memorable one.

He could be forgiven then for thinking it was a somewhat easy thing to do but that’s not the case when you look at the record of his rival Sheik’s.

Sheik Hamdan has managed to win the Cup twice with At Talaq (1986) and Jeune (1994) but Sheik Mohammed, with all his power through both Darley and Godolphin is still searching for his maiden triumph.

It’s not through lack of trying though, he’s entered 26 horses in 13 Melbourne Cups still with no result.

Yesterday it was more of the same with lost In The Moment running 6th and Modun running last.

It seems slightly unfair then that Fahad can have such success when he’s only been involved in racing for a year.

Dunaden was one of the first purchases he made in a stable that is now reaching 50.

He’s showing wisdom beyond his experience though, Dunaden’s trainer Mikel Delzangles originally tried to talk him out of a Melbourne Cup campaign in favour of the Ascot Gold Cup instead.

“I put my foot down and told them no Gold Cup this year,” the Sheik said.

“I said ‘Melbourne Cup this year and Gold Cup next year’.

“He might nearly have won the Gold Cup, but that would have put more weight on him for this race because it’s a handicap.”

He says the sole reason he’s become involved in horse racing is to win the world’s pinnacle events and the Melbourne Cup was one he desperately wanted to tick from his list.

“This is one of the biggest races in the world to win and we got into the game to try and compete at the top level,” Sheik Fahad said.

“His (Dunaden’s) profile is the best profile for this race and he showed that today.”

After tasting victory so quickly you can guarantee he’ll be back for more in future years as well.

“I’d very much like to come back again,” Sheik Fahad said.

“I’ll be back with others and maybe with this horse.

“The atmosphere is amazing. I’m not sure there is any other place in the world quite like this.”

All things considered the Sheik is still very level headed about his success and he knows it’s not something he can simply expect to continue.

“You don’t get these chances in life, maybe once in a lifetime, but I hope this luck continues,” he said. “I’m very lucky.”

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