The Maktoum family's international stable Godolphin plans to establish a permanent presence in Australia.
Godolphin was founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and has enjoyed 211 group I winners since its inception in 1994.
Australian trainer John O'Shea has been appointed Godolphin's head trainer in Australia. The horses in his care will race in Godolphin's prestigious royal blue silks, beginning Aug. 1.
Sheikh Mohammed's breeding operation is Darley and he established a presence in Australia in 2001 with Darley Australia. It comprises several properties (studs and training facilities) located in the leading Thoroughbred breeding regions of New South Wales and Victoria. Darley's Australian studs stand a roster of 22 stallions.
That Godolphin now establishes an Australian base signifies a serious and ongoing commitment to the Australian racing industry by Sheikh Mohammed and is reflective of the ever-growing relationship between Dubai and Australia--360,000 more Australians have visited Dubai since the partnership between leading airlines, Emirates and Qantas, with Australia becoming the fastest-growing inbound market.
"Over the last 15 years, Sheikh Mohammed has led Darley's development and investment in Australia with incredible success and this announcement is a natural next-step," John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed, said in a statement. "Godolphin represents the crown jewels of Sheikh Mohammed's horse racing operations and the establishment of a permanent presence in Australia is not only testament to his on-going commitment to the racing industry but also to the country at large.
"As we have seen, Emirates Airline has an ever-growing presence here in Australia with the Qantas partnership, and as Godolphin's main sponsor, it would be a missed opportunity to not have a home here. We have some fantastic horses in Australia, and with John O'Shea at the helm, we're in good hands."
Henry Plumptre, Godolphin's racing manager and managing director of Darley in Australia, spoke in support of the development, saying, "This is a significant moment for everyone involved in Australian racing. It confirms the quality and popularity of the racing industry here. In Australia, we have collectively won 32 group I races to date, with world-class names such as Sepoy, Helmet, Appearance, Guelph and Earthquake. The whole team is delighted that the best horses will now race in the famous royal blue silks, not only here in Australia but around the world."
The establishment of Godolphin in Australia will make it the largest horse racing operation in the Southern Hemisphere and increases its global footprint with operations in key racing markets across the world including the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, the United States, and Dubai.