Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be allowed to enter a horse in The Everest, despite legal and family issues in the UK. Picture: Supplied
Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be allowed to enter a horse in The Everest, despite legal and family issues in the UK. Picture: Supplied

Sheik’s horse will run in Everest despite controversy

EXCLUSIVE

Racing NSW will allow Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum to run a horse in The Everest despite a UK court ruling that he kidnapped two of his daughters.

And Racing Victoria has given the green light for horses from his Godolphin stable to run in this year's Melbourne Cup amid the controversy.

British MP Jo Stevens had demanded racing authorities across the world, including Australia, review the Sheik's right to race following last week's explosive UK High Court ruling.

"In the face of such a damning judgment, they shouldn't need pushing to do it," she told News Corp Australia.

The Sheik is one of the biggest employers in Australian racing and has already signed up for a slot in The Everest, the nation's richest race.

 

Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum and his then-wife Princess Haya of Jordan at Royal Ascot in 2012. Picture: AP
Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum and his then-wife Princess Haya of Jordan at Royal Ascot in 2012. Picture: AP

 

Racing NSW boss Peter V'landys told News Corp Australia in a written statement there were no plans to curb the Sheik's stables from participating in races.

"We understand Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his legal team took no active part in those proceedings and none of the witnesses in those proceedings were subject to cross-examination," he said.

"Accordingly, Racing NSW does not consider it appropriate to take any action at this stage."

Mr V'landys added that the UK hearing was in a civil court, where the burden of proof was lower than in criminal proceedings.

"It should be further noted that the evidence in those family proceedings has not been tested which is a fundamental requirement of natural justice and due process."

The ruler of Dubai, who is the vice president and Prime Minister of the UAE, has suffered an embarrassing court loss in the UK as part of a bitter dispute with one of his six wives, Princess Haya.

 

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s Cross Counter won the 2018 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.
Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s Cross Counter won the 2018 Melbourne Cup. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

 

The court found that the Sheik had been involved in the kidnap of two of his daughters, Princess Latifa in 2002 and Princess Shamsa, who was taken from a street in Cambridge, UK, in 2000.

The UK government was accused of interference in the police case into the kidnapping of Princess Shamsa.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the family division on the High Court, found that the allegations against the Sheik's involvement in organising the kidnappings were proven.

Sheik al-Maktoum has been a regular at the Ascot races in the UK and has been a close personal friend of the Queen.

However, British media has reported that Her Majesty will avoid being photographed with him in the future.

The Queen with Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Picture: Supplied
The Queen with Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Picture: Supplied

 

Ms Stevens, a Labour MP who sits on the UK's bipartisan Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, added: "The High Court has ruled that Maktoum was responsible for the abduction and imprisonment of his two daughters.

"The British Horseracing Authority should be proactively considering whether Maktoum meets its 'fit and proper' criteria and other regulatory authorities around the world should do the same in respect of their own requirements."

Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria's executive general manager of Integrity Services, said when asked about the Sheik's involvement in the Melbourne Cup: "We have reached out to our colleagues in the UK to understand more given the hearing was conducted in their jurisdiction.

"As we understand it this was an uncontested matter within the UK civil courts and no criminal charges have been laid. In those current circumstances we will not be seeking to impose any restrictions on Godolphin runners."

 

Cross Counter’s 2018 victory was the Sheik’s first Melbourne Cup win. Picture: AAP
Cross Counter’s 2018 victory was the Sheik’s first Melbourne Cup win. Picture: AAP

 

Any curbs on Godolphin would hit the Australian horse racing industry hard, with the Sheik being one of the major investors.

The Godolphin horse Bivouac won the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on Saturday March 6.

The British Horseracing Authority has not banned the Sheik.

Godolphin stables declined to comment on "personal matters" when contacted by News Corp Australia this week.

Godolphin Australia managing director Vin Cox confirmed in February that the stable would commit to The Everest in October.

 

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with Prince Andrew in 2001. Picture: AP
Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum with Prince Andrew in 2001. Picture: AP

 

"Announcing our intention to take a slot now for the race to be run in October also highlights the confidence we have in the people and the horses that make up our racing team," he told the Godolphin website.

The Sheik spent decades and millions of dollars trying to win the Melbourne Cup before his success with Cross Counter in 2018.



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