12/22/2015 12:24PM

Sheikh Mohammed's Darley, Godolphin operations to merge


The global racing and breeding operations of Darley and Godolphin, the two entities owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will merge Jan. 1 and operate under Godolphin thereafter. The two had been operated as separate entities for years. Darley, under which all of  Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock holdings formerly operated, will be used solely as the name of the stallion operation.

The combined Godolphin operation has 2,000 horses in training worldwide, 2,500 breeding stock, and employs 1,500 people. John Ferguson, the longtime principal bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed, will act as the chief executive and racing manager for the combined operation. The merger was announced on Darley’s website.

Darley was first used by Sheikh Mohammed as the name of his racing and breeding operation in 1981 and has campaigned such horses as Singspiel and Cape Cross. Godolphin has been used as a racing entity since 1992. A global operation, Godolphin has won more than 3,000 races and campaigned such standouts as Street Cry, Dubai Millennium, Electrocutionist, Fantastic Light, Swain, Dubawi, Lammtarra, and Daylami, among many others.

Godolphin won an Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2009 and 2012 and regularly ranks among the leaders in North America in money earned. Darley won an Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder in 2012 and tied with Lael Stables for an Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder in 2006.

"It is an exciting new chapter in the Godolphin story,” Ferguson said in a release. “Our long-term objective is to improve on Godolphin's results on the racetrack.

“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."

Ferguson, based in England, will give up his training of jumpers in April. He is currently fifth on the jump trainers’ list.

"I will miss the training,” he said. “Jump racing has always been one of my sporting passions, and I love the involvement. I am very grateful to Sheikh 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.”