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Billionaire ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum spends £3.7m at racehorse sale on day estranged wife attends High Court hearing over their two children

  • Sheikh Maktoum and Princess Haya are locked in legal battle over their children
  • Case returned to High Court yesterday, but the Sheikh did not attend
  • He was seen bidding on racehorses at Newmarket, buying one for £3.7million 

The ruler of Dubai did not attend the latest High Court hearing in his legal battle with his estranged wife and instead spent yesterday bidding millions of pounds at a racehorse auction.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein are locked in a legal row over whether their children stay with their mother in the UK or return to Dubai.

Princess Haya attended the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday for a preliminary hearing in the case, which is due to be fully heard next month.

But the Sheikh, the founder of the successful Godolphin horse racing stable, was instead seen at the Tattersalls horse auction in Newmarket, Suffolk, where he reportedly bought a young horse for more than £3million.

His stables paid 3.6million guineas (around £3.7million) for a Dubawi colt, which is the half-brother to 2017 Greenham Stakes winner Barney Roy, according to the

The Sheikh was instead represented at the High Court by his lawyer Lord Pannick QC, who became widely-known recently for representing Gina Miller at the Brexit-related Supreme Court cases.

Details of yesterday’s hearing at the High Court are unable to be reported for legal reasons, but the couple have previously announced the dispute is over the ‘welfare of their two children and not finances’.

Princess Haya, who fled the Gulf state with her two children to hide in London ‘in fear of her life’, has asked for to protect one of her children from being forced into an arranged marriage.

Her husband the Sheik, one of the world’s richest men, has demanded the ‘summary return’ of his children to the United Arab Emirates.

The 45-year-old princess – his sixth wife – has applied under UK law for a ‘forced marriage protection order’ for one of her children.

This is designed to protect someone who may be at risk of ‘being threatened with a forced marriage’, to stop them being taken out of the UK, according to the Government’s website.

The Oxford-educated princess has also asked for a ‘non-molestation order’.

It was previously reported that Haya fled Dubai in May after what happened to her husband’s daughter Princess Latifa, 33.

 One of his 23 children by different wives, Latifa left last year to make a new life in the US, but was intercepted by special forces and forced to return. 

Haya reportedly fears she may be abducted herself and ‘rendered’ back to Dubai.

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