Following the sad death of Prince Khalid Abdullah, Timeform look at five of the best horses to represent him on the racecourse.
No Flat horse in Timeform's history has achieved a higher rating than Frankel, whose stunning 11-length success in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012 earned him a figure of 147, surpassing the benchmark set by the great Sea-Bird (145) in 1965. Frankel, bred by Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms and expertly trained by Sir Henry Cecil, was successful on all 14 starts, including ten times at Group 1 level. Only 12 other Flat horses have achieved a Timeform rating of 140 or higher, but, astonishingly, Frankel reached at least that level on four of his five starts during his final season alone. He was consistently exceptional, to such an extent that the question was not usually whether he would win, but by how far.
Frankel is also responsible for one of the most iconic moments in racing history when he blitzed his rivals in the 2000 Guineas in 2011, leaving his rivals spread out at wide margins across the Rowley Mile. Frankel has proved a success at stud, siring Cracksman, who emulated his sire by winning on successive Champions Day cards.
The 1986 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was, according to Timeform's Racehorses annual, "the most valuable collection of bloodstock that had ever faced the starter for a race in Europe; it was one of the highest quality, the strongest and most representative assembled for a European middle-distance race in years". It also produced a breath-taking, memorable finish that is still fondly remembered as Dancing Brave unleashed a devastating turn of foot under Pat Eddery to overhaul the top-class French colt Bering.
The rating of 140 that the Guy Harwood-trained Dancing Brave earned has since been surpassed by only Frankel, emphasising his status as one of the all-time greats. However, Dancing Brave, who was also a memorably unlucky second in the Derby, was not simply brilliant over a mile and a half – he was versatile enough to win a slowly-run 2000 Guineas over a mile.
Racehorses of 1986 read: "Form-book and stop-watch don’t tell the whole story about Dancing Brave. Like another first-rate champion Nijinsky, he possessed an extraordinary range for a top horse, combining outstanding qualities of speed and endurance. Had he been campaigned in the major summer and autumn events at a mile or a mile and a quarter he’d almost certainly have dominated his generation as peerlessly as he did at a mile and a half. There are precious few champions about whom that can be said."
Arrogate's career petered out tamely and he went to stud on the back of three successive defeats, but there's little doubt that he was an outstanding racehorse in his pomp. A stunning 13-and-a-half-length success in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on just his fifth start set up a mouth-watering showdown with California Chrome in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. It was a clash that did not disappoint as the two top-class performers settled down to fight out a memorable duel up the straight, with Arrogate finding plenty under pressure to get up in the shadows of the post. That half-length defeat of California Chrome, with the pair more than ten lengths clear of the remainder, earned Arrogate a rating of 139 that surpassed the level Triple Crown hero American Pharoah and Cigar (both 138) had reached, making him the highest-rated horse in North America since Timeform started collating figures for that jurisdiction. Arrogate, who like American Pharoah was trained by Bob Baffert, went on to win the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup – at the time the world's most valuable race – and followed up with an outstanding display in the Dubai World Cup, overcoming a dreadful start and wide passage throughout, showing all the traits of a champion.
Until Frankel came along much later, Warning could be considered the best of the Juddmonte home-bred colts to carry Khalid Abdullah’s colours. Trained by Guy Harwood, Warning was unbeaten in four starts at two, notably the Richmond Stakes and Champagne Stakes, form which made him ante-post favourite for the 2000 Guineas and, according to Timeform, the top two-year-old of 1987. However, he missed the Guineas after being beaten on his reappearance in the Craven Stakes, but restored his reputation later in the season by winning first the Sussex Stakes and then, after going down to the top-class French filly Miesque in the Prix Jacques le Marois, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Warning showed a brilliant turn of foot at Ascot to win by five lengths from Salse, putting up the best effort of the season in Europe and making him Timeform’s Horse of the Year. Warning’s three-year-old campaign ended in disappointment in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and, while he recorded another top-class performance at four when winning the Queen Anne Stakes by four lengths, subsequent defeats when fourth to Nashwan in the Eclipse and when only sixth in a bid to win the Sussex again meant his racing career ended under something of a cloud.
Known Fact had historical significance as he was to be just the first of many classic winners in Khalid Abdullah’s colours when awarded the 2000 Guineas in 1979. However, at the time he got little credit for that success, having passed the post second, a neck behind the French colt Nureyev who had barged his way out of trouble further back in the field. Fortunately for Known Fact, though, three wins in an impressive autumn campaign advertised his claims to be the top three-year-old miler of the season. Bought for $225,000 as a yearling, Known Fact was already a Group 1 winner for Prince Khalid and his trainer Jeremy Tree at two, ending his first season with victory in the Middle Park Stakes.
After the Guineas, an attack of bronchitis kept Known Fact off the course until the summer, but he ended the season with wins in the Waterford Crystal Mile at Goodwood, the Kiveton Park Steel Stakes at Doncaster and, most notably, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot where he became only the second horse to beat the top-class older miler Kris. As a stallion, Known Fact sired another Queen Elizabeth II Stakes winner for Khalid Abdullah in Warning.