Sheikh Mohammed is the Ruler of Dubai; Ramzan A. Kadyrov is the President of Chechnya. Both heads of state are Muslims and horse racing aficionados. Both hobnob with other international dignitaries and have distinct sartorial styles: the sheikh favors tails and top hats and the company of Elizabeth II and the Royal family abroad; at home, he’s comfortable entertaining in traditional Middle Eastern robes. For Mr. Kadyrov: Track suits, shiny suits, Muslim garb, or military fatigues, regardless the occasion, or company, including Vladimir Putin.
Both have a penchant for buying made horses. Sheikh Mohammed, for example, has Vineyard Haven, Delegator, and Denman, to name three that raced on three continents yesterday. Mr. Kadyrov has Mourilyan, Bronze Cannon, and Racecar Rhapsody, to name three prominent purchases. Mourilyan, who won yesterday, was purchased from the Aga Khan; Bronze Cannon was purchased from the Oppenheimers to contest the prestigious President’s Cup in Moscow in July; and Racecar Rhapsody was bought from Jerry Carroll in the US to contest the Russian Derby last year.
As heads of state, they travel in style, too, and flash the appropriate horsepower. Here’s the sheikh’s motorcade:
And here’s Mr. Kadyrov’s convoy:
As horse owners, they’ve been linked by the Dubai Carnival races, sponsored by the sheikh. Mr. Kadyrov had a stable in Dubai this past winter, trained by South African Herman Brown, and he did make at least one trip to Dubai, according to a source in Dubai. “He visited Nad Al Sheba late one night, past midnight, with his entourage. They woke up the nightwatchman and had him bring out his horses. They couldn’t have been there that long. They looked, and then they left,” he said.
As heads of state, they’ve been embroiled in a Dubai controversy this year: the assasination of Kadyrov’s Chechen rival Sulim Yamadayev, on Dubai World Cup day, at the Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Ever since, there’s been bad blood between the two countries and the two men, and it will be interesting to see whether the sheikh will grant the Chechen president a license for the Meydan meet this winter.
In the meantime, both were on a roll yesterday, especially Sheikh Mohammed, who unloaded a motorcade of stakes winners on three continents.
At Saratoga, under the Godolphin silks, he had:
Vineyard Haven, who finished first in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop but was DQ’d to 2nd
Music Note, winner of the Grade 1 Ballerina
Sarah Louise, winner of the Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes
He also had a connection to the German filly Salve Germania, who won the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap. The filly’s dam, Salve Regina, is a Monsun full sister to, among others, Godolphin’s Schiaparelli, who defeated Mr. Kadyrov’s Mourilyan in the Goodwood Cup a few weeks back.
At Goodwood, the sheikh had:
Delegator, winner of the Group 2 Totesport.com Celebration Mile under Godolphin’s silks for the first time
At Windsor, the sheikh had:
Campanologist, winner of the Group 3 Totepool Winter Hill Stakes from Mr. Kadyrov’s Bankable, with The Queen’s Kingdom of Fife in third — all three runners owned by heads of state! (See more on this race below)
And at Rosehill, in Australia, Sheikh Mohammed had:
Denman, winner of the Group 1 Golden Rose
Mr. Kadyrov couldn’t quite match Sheikh Mohammed’s horsepower, but his Mourilyan did win the Listed Windpower March Stakes at Goodwood — a race that was expected to be the St. Leger prep for Godolphin’s expensive Urban Poet (unplaced). This performance was notable because Mourilyan finally exacted revenge on Godolphin, after finishing behind Schiaparelli in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup, and behind Godolphin’s pair of Kite Wood (1st) and Age of Reason (3rd) in the Group 3 CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on Aug. 15.
Also, as mentioned above, Mr. Kadyrov’s Bankable (2nd) split horses owned by the sheikh and The Queen at Windsor, which is ironic because Bankable was mysteriously pulled from the entries at Royal Ascot this summer. Also, the horse that beat Bankable, Campanologist, was himself beaten this summer by Bronze Cannon — the horse that Mr. Kadyrov now owns and who he shipped to Moscow for the President’s Cup.