In just four short years as a racehorse owner, Mohammed Khalid Abdulrahim of MKAR Racing, based in Bahrain, is taking a second aim at the prestigious and, some would say, the world’s greatest horserace, the Epsom Derby, which will be held tomorrow, with his three-year-old colt, Sprewell.
His first attempt at the Derby was last year with his horse El Habeeb who finished 10th at odds of 250/1.
Determined to have another go, Abdulrahim is relishing a second chance. This time however, he will watch the race live when he attends a Derby in the UK for the very first time.
“I’m coming for the Derby on June 3,” Abdulrahim told Great British Racing International last week. “I feel very lucky to be honest. I have not been in the sport very long compared to others, especially like my father. I’ve been in it, maybe, just four years.”
Mohammed’s father, Khalid Mohammed Abdulrahim, an extremely successful Bahraini business magnate and construction tycoon, is the founder and chairman of KAR group of companies, the focal point of which is Cebarco Bahrain, a building construction and civil engineering company.
One of his passions, along with collecting classic cars and philanthropy, is breeding racehorses.
Sprewell has been bred by the elder Abdulrahim and trained by Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer, Jessica Harrington, 76, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer and recently told the BBC that horses are her therapy.
Sprewell will only be Harrington’s second runner to ever line up at the Epsom Derby, but has already impressed his trainer by winning over a mile at Naas in March and in the Derby Trial Stakes in Leopardstown in May.
“I’ve been delighted with him,” Harrington said. “Nothing seems to faze him. I know there will be much more hype and buzz at Epsom, but so far, he’s been very good.
“It would be very special to win the Epsom Derby – it’s on the bucket list to get a tick,” she added. “It’s great to go there with a horse that’s got a chance and it’s very exciting.”
Meanwhile, the younger Abdulrahim is similarly upbeat about his horse’s prospects.
“Having two runners under my name, especially my father’s breeds, makes it even better for us,” he said. “Being a homebred makes it even more special. Winning the Derby is right up there. It’s one of the biggest races for us. Not prize money-wise, but prestige-wise.
“Looking forward, it will be a dream come true. Sprewell is very well and we’re hoping it’s going to be wet as he likes soft ground. I think he has a huge chance if it’s soft.”
Abdulrahim added that he was looking forward to attending his first ever Derby in the UK.
“I’ve never been to a Derby before or even a race in the UK!” Abdulrahim revealed.