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Tue 22 Dec 2015 04:19 PM

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Sheikh Mohammed restructures Godolphin global horse racing empire

John Ferguson, bloodstock advisor to Dubai ruler, is appointed chief exec and racing manager after merger with Darley breeding unit

Sheikh Mohammed restructures Godolphin global horse racing empire
Tamarkuz ridden by Paul Hanagan wins the Godolphin Mile during the Dubai World Cup at the Meydan Racecourse on March 28, 2015. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The global racing and breeding empires of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are set to merge into one operation under Godolphin in the New Year.

John Ferguson, currently bloodstock advisor to Sheikh Mohammed, has been appointed chief executive and racing manager to the re-shaped and streamlined Godolphin, it was announced on Tuesday.

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

Ferguson, a highly-successful jumps trainer in the UK - he is currently fifth on the trainers' list - has simultaneously announced that he will hand in his licence at the end of April 2016 in order to devote more time to Godolphin.

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.

Ferguson said: "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.

"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 said.

Godolphin has 2,000 horses in training worldwide, 2,500 breeding stock and employs 1,500 staff.

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