Lord (Teddy) Grimthorpe, who has for 22 years served as racing manager for Juddmonte, will stand down from that position after this year's Royal Ascot meeting. Prince Khalid Abdullah, who founded Juddmonte and began racing horses more than 40 years ago, died aged 84 on Jan. 12.
Since taking up the role in 1999, Grimthorpe has worked with 24 European trainers and overseen 3000 horses in training. Of those, 1400 won over 2400 races, including almost 100 Group 1 wins. The list of champion Grimthorpe was involved with includes Enable (GB), Frankel (GB), Banks Hill (GB), Rail Link (GB), Special Duty (GB), Workforce (GB), Twice Over (GB), Midday (GB), Oasis Dream (GB) and Kingman (GB). After Khalid Abdullah's death, Juddmonte Chief Executive Douglas Erskine Crum said the prince's family was “very committed to keeping Juddmonte as it is going.”
Grimthorpe, who currently serves as deputy senior steward of The Jockey Club and is on the York Racecourse board after nine years as chairman there, said, “I have always felt that the time for me to stand down from Juddmonte would be when Prince Khalid was no longer involved. It has been a huge privilege to work for the Prince and his family, and with the outstanding Juddmonte team, which has been so successful for so long. Of course I am sad to leave, but, with the Prince's death two months ago and over 20 years as his racing manager, now is the right time.
“I leave an organisation in great shape which is supreme at what it does, and I have no doubt Juddmonte will continue to thrive and produce top-class homebred Thoroughbred horses competing at the highest level on racecourses across the world.”
Prior to his appointment with Juddmonte, Grimthorpe worked for the British Bloodstock Agency for more than 20 years. He said he plans to stay involved in the Thoroughbred industry.
“I've just had the most tremendous time,” he said. “It's been an absolute honour and privilege to have worked for Prince Khalid and his family. This just seemed right. I still want to remain active in the industry, and there are some things I want to pursue back in Yorkshire. Life will go on. Obviously I've given it a great deal of thought and I haven't taken the decision lightly. I've been unbelievably lucky, I really have.”
Grimthorpe nominated two standouts among the many champions he has been involved with at Juddmonte.
“When Prince Khalid died and we looked back at the big moments, there were so many extraordinary horses who had won serious Group 1 races who hardly got a mention,” he said. “I think in terms of special moments, though, Frankel looms over everything. Seeing him develop, Sir Henry [Cecil] became a very close friend, as did all the Juddmonte trainers, but it was just the story around Frankel with how ill Henry was.
“Obviously I'm biased, but the day at York with him [the Juddmonte International] was very special–it was a day a lot of people remember. Prince Khalid was there, Henry was very ill, and the crowd were beyond belief. I was waiting for Prince Khalid to arrive–and normally at York when there is a big crowd a lot of it is coaches–but this wasn't, this was a case of people getting in their car to go and see the horse. I've never seen the paddock as crowded–it was like Cheltenham–and of course his his performance was outstanding. People still come up to me to talk about that day.
“Then of course, we've had Enable the last few years. She had the most remarkable personality, and her relationship with Frankie [Dettori] was something special too, which all added to the story.”
Erskine Crum thanked Grimthorpe for his service, saying, “On behalf of Prince Khalid's family and all of us past and present at Juddmonte, I thank Teddy for all he has done to help the organisation be at the very top of its game year after year. He will be sorely missed and we wish him the very best of good fortune for the future.”