Sport Racing Luckless sheikh’s billion-dollar Melbourne Cup loss
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Luckless sheikh’s billion-dollar Melbourne Cup loss

Sheikh melbourne cup
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has spent $1.1 billion chasing a Melbourne Cup win. Photo: Getty
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If success in the Melbourne Cup were down to money alone, then a Dubai multi-billionaire should by rights be the most successful owner in the history of the race.

But as owners, trainers, jockeys and certainly punters know, there are many more ingredients to Melbourne Cup success than cash alone. 

The vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, ruling King of Dubai and oil sheikh, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has so far forked out a whopping $1.1 billion without a single win in Australia’s richest race.

In 18 years of trying, the owner of horse racing giant Godolphin has managed just three second placings and two thirds in the $6 million race.

And despite having an unprecedented five runners – including the pre-race favourite Hartnell – in Tuesday’s race, Sheikh Mohammed fell short once again.

Standing in his way was Cup veteran Lloyd Williams and his rag tag bunch of mates.

Music industry legend Michael Gudinski, Rip Curl founder Brian Singer, Quiksilver founder Alan Green and the Crown Casino founder trumped the billion-dollar pursuit as Almandin pipped Heartbreak City to win.

Williams had four horses in the race in what was his fifth Melbourne Cup victory.

Australian racing’s biggest loser

Sheikh Mohammed
In 18 years Sheikh Mohammed has been unable to break his Melbourne Cup duck. Photo: Getty

Sheikh Mohammed is estimated to be worth $US18 billion ($A23 billion) according to Forbes, but his pocket is slightly lighter as a result of his racing venture.

The Australian Financial Review reported the Dubai ruler spent about $500 million in 2008 to buy the Australian racing empire from the Ingham brothers to establish operations in Australia.

And he has since lost even more.

The Godolphin owner is reported to have splashed $1.1 billion since his first Cup race in 1998.

He has racked up $522 million in accumulated losses, AFR said, including a $55 million loss last year and $65 million in 2014.

The company also has other significant losses on its books.

It’s believed to have spent $157 million for stallions, $96 million in broodmares, $55 million in horse training, $20 million on yearlings and $19 million on foals.

Sheikh Mohammed has struggled chasing racing success on Australian soil, but has won more than 3500 races in at least 14 countries.

He is thought to be the biggest spender in the history of the sport.

The politician and businessman

Sheikh melbourne cup
Queen Elizabeth and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at The Royal Windsor Horse Show. Photo: Getty

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is well known for his work outside his luckless racing escapades.

The 67-year-old assumed office in 2006 following the death of his brother Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum to become the Emir of Dubai.

Since his accession he has played a significant hand in shaping the UAE.

In 2010, he launched the UAE Vision 2021, with the aim of making his country one of the best in the world by developing high-quality educational and health systems, maintaining a sustainable environment that ensures prosperity for future generations, and moving towards a zero tolerance policy on corruption in government.

He is also responsible for of Dubai’s inaugural rail service and is an accomplished poet and author.

In addition, Sheikh Mohammed has made an impact in the business world.

He is responsible for a number of major enterprises in Dubai, including Emirates airline, Jumeirah hotel chain and global trader DP World.

He also oversaw some of Dubai’s most famous projects, including the Palm Islands and the world’s tallest building, Burj Al Arab.

The list of Sheikh Mohammed’s unsuccessful runners:

  • 1998: Faithful Son (Frankie Dettori) – 7th
  • 1999: Central Park (Frankie Dettori) – 2nd
  • 2000: Lightning Arrow (Frankie Dettori) – 17th
  • 2001: Give The Slip (Richard Hills) – 2nd
  • 2001: Marienbard (Frankie Dettori) – 7th
  • 2002: Beekeeper (Kerrin McEvoy) – 3rd
  • 2002: Pugin (Frankie Dettori) – 18th
  • 2002: Hatha Anna (Richard Hills) – 20th
  • 2003: Millstreet (Patrick Payne) – 21st
  • 2003: Mamool (Frankie Dettori) – 23rd
  • 2004: Mamool (Frankie Dettori) – 7th
  • 2004: Razkalla (Kerrin McEvoy) – 9th
  • 2005 to 2008: No runners
  • 2009: Crime Scene (Kerrin McEvoy) – 2nd
  • 2010: Holberg (Frankie Dettori) – 6th
  • 2010: Campanologist (Kerrin McEvoy) – 16th
  • 2011: Lost In The Moment (William Buick) – 6th
  • 2011: Modun (Kerrin McEvoy) – 23rd
  • 2012: Cavalryman (Frankie Dettori) – 12th
  • 2013: Royal Empire (Kerrin McEvoy) – 14th
  • 2014: Cavalryman (Craig Williams) – Scratched
  • 2014: Willing Foe (James McDonald) – 5th
  • 2015: Sky Hunter (William Buick) – 22nd
  • 2016: Hartnell (James McDonald) – 3rd
  • 2016: Qewy (Craig Williams) – 4th
  • 2016: Beautiful Romance (Damian Lane) – 7th
  • 2016: Oceanographer (Chad Schofield) – 12th
  • 2016: Secret Number (Stephen Baster) – 21st

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