It is a distinguished occasion for which racing fans don their finery to take in the action trackside – and the Royal Family of Dubai were no exception. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, jetted into the UK over the weekend to attend the Epsom Derby Festival, a prestigious horse race held in the county of Surrey. A notable event in the racing calendar, the derby was also visited by HM Queen Elizabeth II, as well as stars including Elizabeth Hurley and Dame Helen Mirren.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid had a reason to celebrate on the day as a horse from his stables, Godolphin Racing’s Masar, claimed the derby title. The Ruler of Dubai was crowned winner of the Investec Derby horse race, and collected his trophy to rapturous applause. Joining the royal on stage were two of his children; His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s youngest daughter, Sheikha Al Jalila. HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed, also joined her family on the day, and was pictured enjoying a tête-à-tête with HM Queen Elizabeth II.
HH Sheikh Mohammed and Her Majesty discussed “building on the successful bilateral relations between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom in all sectors”, according to Dubai Media Office. The Ruler of Dubai also paid tribute to Godolphin’s “outstanding teamwork” on the day, the official agency added. The family had another reason to celebrate, as Godolphin Racing’s Wild Illusion came in second in the Epsom Oaks (Group 1) race, while HH Sheikh Hamdan’s Lake Volta also won the Investec Surrey Stakes race.
The family were dressed to impressed for the event, with HRH Princess Haya sporting an artfully draped scarlet midi and striking hat in a matching hue. Ten-year-old Al Jalila wore a cream dress with complementary headpiece on the sidelines, and a star-printed navy dress later during the event, as she posed with elder brother HH Sheikh Mohammed. The royal family’s outing was captured on social media, with members sharing snippets from the celebrations, our favorite of which is a touching father-and-daughter portrait shared by HH Sheikh Mohammed. “Horses are in my blood, horses are my life,” the royal also added on Twitter.
The success of the family’s stables has been heralded by racegoers and fans alike, with HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sending his congratulations to the Al Maktoums. “My heartfelt congratulations to my brother Mohammed bin Rashid on winning the Dubai English classic Derby horse race,” he posted on Twitter. “It’s an honorable achievement for all of us.”