John Ferguson

John Ferguson

Anne M. Eberhardt

Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin, Darley to Merge

John Ferguson named chief executive of combined racing and breeding entities.

Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin racing and Darley breeding entities will be merged in 2016 and operated as Godolphin under the direction of newly appointed chief executive John Ferguson.

Ferguson, Sheikh Mohammed's long-time bloodstock adviser and his representative at sales throughout the world, will also serve as racing manager. In assuming his new roles within the organization, Ferguson will relinquish training the string of Sheikh Mohammed's steeplechase horses.

In announcing the changes on its website, Godolphin said its global racing and breeding operations "are set to merge into one seamless operation" with Ferguson to direct the "reshaped and streamlined" Godolphin.

"Darley, under which all Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock holdings formerly operated, is now to be used solely as a brand to promote stallions," the announcement said.

"It makes sense for the racing and breeding operations to merge," Ferguson said in a statement. "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.

"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 honored to be appointed chief executive and racing manager, but I realize that it will require more of my time and attention."

With racing and breeding operations worldwide, Godolphin said it has 2,000 horses in training, about 2,500 horses used as breeding stock, and employs 1,500 people.

Ferguson, currently fifth on the leading United Kingdom steeplchase trainer's list, said Sheikh Mohammed wanted him to continue training those horses but he will relinquish that license in April 2016, with the best of those horses rejoining Godolphin at Charlie Appleby's Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, England. Ferguson's stable staff will also be invited to join Godolphin, the announcement said.

"I will miss the training," Ferguson 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."