Godolphin yesterday lost one of their founder members when Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum died at the age of 62.
The ruler of Dubai, vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, passed away while visiting Australia, the president's office in Abu Dhabi said in a statement.
Sheikh Maktoum, who was also one of the world's most successful breeders and owner of Gainsborough Stud in Newbury, has been succeeded by his younger brother, Godolphin figurehead Sheikh Mohammed.
Godolphin's racing manager, Simon Crisford, said: "Sheikh Maktoum's death is a huge loss to Dubai but also to the world of horseracing. He was at the very centre of everything Godolphin has achieved.
"It was Sheikh Maktoum who decided that horses should be trained in Dubai to run in the top international races.
"Along with Sheikh Mohammed, he set up Godolphin. He was the one who chose the blue silks our horses carry and he was involved in all key decisions affecting the stable.
"Sheikh Maktoum owned a number of our champions including Balanchine, Cape Verdi, Fantastic Light and Shamardal as well as a host of other horses and he was always hugely supportive. He was also a very successful owner in his own right under the Gainsborough banner. Our thoughts are with the Maktoum family at this very sad time."
Godolphin's first Group One winner, Balanchine, carried Sheikh Maktoum's colours when she won both the Vodafone Oaks and the Irish Derby in 1994.
Shaab, in 1977, was the first horse Sheikh Maktoum owned in Europe and his famous colours appeared on the racecourse two years later. His best horses outside Godolphin included Cadeaux Genereux, Green Desert, Touching Wood, Shadeed, Hatoof, Royal Applause, and Storming Home. They were in training with ten handlers including Sir Michael Stoute, Ed Dunlop, Mark Johnston and Neil Drysdale.
Stoute, who trained Fantastic Light to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes before his transfer to Godolphin, said: "It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum. I first trained for him in 1982 and have thoroughly enjoyed our association.
"He was a gentleman, sportsman and horseman who made an enormous contribution to our industry. I shall miss him."
Former champion jockey Joe Mercer, his racing manager for the past 19 years, said: "It's absolutely awful. We had hundreds of great horses like Cadeaux Genereux, Royal Applause, Fantastic Light, Hatoof, Shadeed, Shareef Dancer - dozens and dozens of them.
"He really enjoyed his racing. He knew what was going on and was a very good man to work for. He was a good loser and a good winner."
Sheikh Maktoum was elected an honorary member of the Jockey Club in 1985.
Julian Richmond-Watson, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: "Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum made a hugely significant contribution to the sport of horseracing and British thoroughbred racing and breeding, in particular.
"He bred and owned several champions, many of which went on to enjoy great success at stud. Along with other members of his family, he was a great sportsman who cared deeply about his horses."
The Emirates Racing Authority announced their offices would be closed for seven days, with racing at Nad Al Sheba today and on January 12 cancelled, along with tomorrow's card at Jebel Ali. However, the Dubai Racing Carnival, due to start on January 19, is expected to take place as scheduled.
Dubai declared 40 days of official mourning and stock exchanges in Dubai and Abu Dhabi ceased trading. Sheikh Maktoum's funeral will take place today at Umm Hurair cemetery, Bur Dubai.