Billionaire Chinese businessman and horse owner.
Like Batman in Gotham City, he’s swooped on the world racing scene outta nowhere by first coming to notice with his million dollar purchases- Gold Fun and Akeed Mofeed- and then taking over the ownership of Lindsay Park by offering David Hayes an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Speaking a Chinese dialect not known to many, it will be interesting to follow San Putong’s next moves such as who will run his Lindsay Park investment, his next equine purchases, his future plans for stallion Akeed Mofeed, winner of the Group 1 Hong Kong International Cup and his role in the Australian racing industry- from the outside looking in.
SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID EL MAKTOUM
Ruler of Dubai, owner of the powerful Godolphin and Darley stables, passionate racing man who built the Meydan race track.
Still a force to be reckoned with despite his Godolphin brand taking a beating with the doping scandal involving that’s led to their Mohammed Al Zarooni being suspended for eight years, having been long forgotten. Or has it- along with the split with long-time Godolphin’s number one rider Frankie Dettori?
Fiercely charismatic and a passionate racing man, questions about the return on investment in his Meydan white elephant remain unanswered along with the bad publicity, of, suddenly, having notorious Aussies with serious criminal records, setting up shop in his Dubai much like dubious Russian “businessmen” did eight years ago when the city was paved with gold and dodgy deals including money laundering.
Meanwhile, time will tell if the appointment of John O’Shea as trainer for his Darley operations in Australia was the correct one or a knee-jerk reaction after first choice for the job- Chris Waller- cleverly walked away from the offer- and with many waiting to see the working relationship between jockey Kerrin McEvoy, the Sheikh’s Golden Child, and O’Shea.
Not discussed by many is whether Peter Snowden blindsided Darley by resigning while we wish Australia’s racing media can use a better word than “interesting” about the appointment of O’Shea- which just sounds, well, uninteresting.
THE AGA KHAN
The Richest Man in the World.
He has been and continues to be one of the most influential breeders in the world.
The Aga Khan’s bloodlines are world-renowned and meticulously refined to ensure enhancements to the breed which, in turn, enables success in the World’s best international Group One races.
His purchase of world champion racehorse Sea The Stars fits in with the proven strategy of introducing new and successful bloodlines into his breeding barn and is again paying off.
For the first time this breeding season, the Aga Khan stood champion Australian sire Redoute’s Choice, sending a select group of his very best broodmares to him.
Redoute’s returns again in 2014, and the Aga Khan has further embraced the shuttle stallion concept sending three of his better known and performed stallions for stallion duty in the Southern hemisphere.
THE YOSHIDA FAMILY
Japan’s number one racing and breeding family have continued to be a major force in racing and breeding circles- a dynasty started in the Seventies by the late Zenya Yoshida and with the famous Shadai Group now managed by sons Katsumi, Teruya and Haruya
In the past year they have, literally, picked the eyes out of Australia’s champion racing fillies and mares, swooping on Group One performers such as Mosheen, Shamrocker and King’s Rose to name a few to complement their collection of champion mares.
Each racing season, the familiar Yoshida family name and racing colours are a common sight in the winning enclosure for Group One races whereas jockeys from around the world do somersaults and are happy to kiss plenty of ass to ride for them.
WINFRIED ENGELBRECHT BRESGES
What can we say that hasn’t been said before about EB?
A thorn in the side of his detractors, but, does he care? He just marches forwards knowing that jealousy must be earned.
The HKJC is certainly not perfect and some of the hires are useless baggage, but Hong Kong racing is lengths ahead of the rest of the world and if racing in China and co-mingling are ever going to happen it will be because of a very savvy German. Enough said.
SHEIKH JOAAN AL THANI
Young, gifted, and a real game changer in the racing world with the legendary Frankie Dettori as the stable’s number one jockey and mentor to Faleh Bouganaim from Quatar, the recent news of this Qutari’s royal’s plans to own breeding bases in the UK or Ireland, new silks for his El Shabab Racing team plus the building of a spectacular racing course in Quatar, shows his rapid ascension in the global world of racing.
We’re betting things won’t stop here, and here is a young Sheikh who will change the landscape of racing in Europe, the UK and will target the truly important races around the world.
Owner of Arc winner Treve plus Toronado and over a hundred other horses in training in France and the UK,
Sheikh El Thani has a very strong team comprising Dettori who knows the Godolphin setup inside out, Harry Herbert, founder of successful Highclere Racing as his advisor and his cousin Sheikh Habal who has his own racing team.
It’s no surprise that the Coolmore and Godolphin stables will be Sheikh, rattle and rolling at the expansion of El Shabab racing which is also entering the world of sponsorship in racing, starting with Europe.
Not really “important” for the ponzi scheme that made simpletons out of so many in seats of power for their supposed intelligence and street smarts, but INTERESTING ‘cos of the extent of it, how it’s only the tip of a very big iceberg leading to Dubai, and the lack of confidence vote it’s given the entire racing industry in Australia.
Who are you going to trust- and why should anyone?
The entire saga has shown up the Haves from the Have-nots and the various rorts taking place in ALL aspects of the sport which, apart from the Herald Sun and The Age, many in the racing media refuse to tackle- head on- and instead, despite all the talk- tow the corporate line of Sgt Schutz: I know nutting.
The really big question is not how and when this pox on the image of Australian racing happened, but why it was allowed to happen- and flourish- at all, who the real puppet masters are and the cast of thousands only now coming to the fore.