Godolphin and Darley set for mega merger
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum , Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai along with John Ferguson during the Dubai World Cup 2015 at Meydan (image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News archive)
Both entities were created by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, one of the most influential people in the sport.
The forthcoming merger was announced today (Tuesday) by Godolphin, under whose management, the two companies will operate.
John Ferguson, long-serving bloodstock adviser to Shaikh Mohammad, has been appointed Chief Executive and Racing Manager to the reshaped and streamlined Godolphin international racing stable.
Darley, under which all Shaikh Mohammed’s bloodstock holdings formerly operated, is now to be used exclusively as a brand to promote stallions.
Ferguson, a highly successful jumps trainer in the UK, has simultaneously announced that he will hand in his licence at the end of April 2016 in order to devote more time to Godolphin.
“It is an exciting new chapter in the Godolphin story. Our long-term objective is to improve on Godolphin’s results on the racetrack. I feel honoured to be appointed Chief Executive and Racing Manager, but I realise that it will require more of my time and attention,” said Ferguson in on the stable’s website.
“It makes sense for the racing and breeding operations to merge. One is sourcing the other, and a well-planned, common strategy can only strengthen both.
“We must ensure that Godolphin continues to represent excellence in racing, and that the brand serves as a constant reminder of the vibrancy and energy of Dubai,” he added, noting that the changes were simply building on the evolution of Godolphin over the past two years.
Godolphin has 2,000 horses in training worldwide, including bases in Dubai, the UK and Australia, boasts 2,500 breeding stock and employs 1,500 staff.
Its principal trainers are Saeed Bin Surour, a four-time champion trainer in Britain, Charlie Appleby, and John O’Shea, but the firm also uses the services of leading trainers around the world.
The multiple championship winning stable’s bases in Dubai are at Al Quoz and Marmoon Stables. In the UK they operated from Godolphin Stables and Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket and from Crown Lodge and Osborne Park in Sydney and Carbine Lodge in Melbourne.
Darley, who currently standing stallions in six countries around the world, are headquartered at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket — the renowned home of racing.
Commenting on his new appointment, Ferguson added: “I am very grateful to Shaikh Mohammed for giving me the horses to send jumping in the first place. In fact, he wanted me to continue, but I could see that Godolphin must always be a priority and requires my undivided attention.
“I will miss the training. Jump racing has always been one of my sporting passions, and I love the involvement.
The best of his horses, who were almost exclusively recruited from Godolphin and Darley and ran over jumps in the ownership of Bloomfields, will now rejoin Godolphin at Charlie Appleby’s Moulton Paddocks, Newmarket.
Ferguson’s stable staff at Bloomfields will be invited to join Godolphin.