The Godolphin racing empire of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, intends to establish a permanent presence in Australia.
The move will make Godolphin the largest horse-racing operation in the southern hemisphere and increase its global footprint, with operations in key racing markets across the world, including Britain, Ireland, France, the United States, and Dubai.
Australian trainer John O’Shea has been appointed Godolphin’s head trainer in Australia and the horses in his care will race in Godolphin’s royal blue silks from August 1. They had previously raced in the maroon silks of Darley Stud.
The sheikh’s Godolphin enterprise has had 211 Group 1 winners since its inception in 1994.
Godolphin said the Australian move signified a serious and ongoing commitment to the Australian racing industry by the sheikh, who is also vice-president of the United Arab Emirates.
Godolphin’s racing manager, Henry Plumptre, who is managing director of Darley in Australia, said: “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 1 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 sheikh’s bloodstock adviser, John Ferguson, said: “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.
“Godolphin represents the crown jewels of Sheikh Mohammed’s horseracing 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.”
O’Shea added: “Godolphin is the most prestigious thoroughbred stable in the world and one of the most successful. His Highness is a true horseman himself and I consider it an honour to be given this responsibility. I look forward to the start of the season and to contributing to Godolphin’s continued global success.”