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Godolphin, sponsored by Emirates, is the Maktoum family's private thoroughbred horseracing stable and was named in honour of the Godolphin Arabian, who came from the desert to become one of the three founding stallions of the modern thoroughbred. Godolphin is buried at Wandlebury Park in Cambridge, where there is a stone to commemorate this horse in the passageway of the old buildings. Godolphin's headquarters are in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It operates two racing stables in Newmarket, UK, two in Sydney, Australia, one in Melbourne, Australia, and also has horses in training with independent trainers in Great Britain, Australia, France, The United States of America and Ireland. UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the driving force behind Godolphin.
The family's breeding operation, Darley, is named in honour of another of the three original thoroughbred stallions. Darley breeds horses in Australia, France, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. Stallions who have stood at Dalham Hall include the great Dubai Millennium who won the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba, UAE and the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, UK in 2000.
Godolphin has won over 4,000 races worldwide and numerous awards since its inception in 1992. Its most successful years numerically are 2015 (650 wins), 2016 (597 wins), 2014 (361 wins), 2013 (228 wins) and 2012 (214 wins).
Godolphin was leading owner at the Dubai World Cup Carnival on ten successive years from 2008 to 2017, and crowned British Champion Owner on eleven occasions - 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2015 & 2016. Saeed bin Suroor trained his 200th Dubai World Cup Carnival winner when the aptly-named Very Special won the G2 Cape Verdi on 26 January 2017.
Godolphin won an Eclipse Award for top North American owner at the 39th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony in 2010. It was the first time that Godolphin won the award for top North American owner. The stable has had winners in 14 different countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Singapore, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom & USA).
Godolphin's first runner and winner was Cutwater (GB) at Nad Al Sheba, Dubai on December 24, 1992 while Godolphin's international operation commenced in 1994.
Godolphin's operations are based in Al Quoz, Dubai, UAE and in Newmarket, United Kingdom, at Godolphin Stables (former Stanley House Stables, built in 1903 by Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby) and the historic Moulton Paddocks. Godolphin also has three stables in Australia, two in Sydney and one in Melbourne.
Godolphin registered its 100th Group One win with Sulamani in the 2003 Arlington Million and has won a total of 244 Group One races around the globe. Hunter's Light, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, recorded Godolphin's 200th Group One success with an impressive victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 Sponsored By Emirates Airline at Meydan, Dubai, on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Godolphin has won the Group One US$10-million Dubai World Cup, on eight occasions, thanks to Almutawakel (1999), Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry (2002), Moon Ballad (2003), Electrocutionist (2006), Monterosso (2012), African Story (2014) and Prince Bishop (2015).
Numerous major North American wins include four at the Breeders’ Cup meeting, highlighted by the victories of Daylami (1999) and Fantastic Light (2001) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Outstrip (2013) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
In keeping with its pioneering international outlook, Godolphin has gained four wins at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races and Heart Lake scored an early Japanese Group One win in the 1995 Yasuda Kinen.
In 2013, stable jockey Frankie Dettori departed the organisation. In the same year, the British Horseracing Authority disclosed that Godolphin employee Mahmood Al Zarooni (who had joined Godolphin as a trainer a few years earlier) had been charged with doping after 15 Godolphin horses he was training had tested positive for anabolic steroids. Sheikh Mohammed declared he was "appalled and angered" and would 'lock down' the stables with 'immediate effect'. Al Zarooni was quickly dismissed, and all 15 horses were later cleared to race. Godolphin commissioned an independent inquiry into Al Zarooni's activities, and subsequently a major reorganisation took place within Godolphin's UK operations On account of the scale of Godolphin's operations, and as doping activity is generally extremely rare in flat horse racing (robust anti-doping procedures mean detection is highly probable), the incident was described by The Economist as "the biggest doping scandal in racing history".
In late 2014, it was announced that Godolphin is to have a permanent presence in Australia, and John O'Shea was appointed Godolphin's head trainer there. William Buick and James Doyle were appointed stable jockeys in early 2015, joining Mickael Barzalona, who joined the team in March 2012, and is Godolphin's retained rider in France.
In September 2016, Saeed bin Suroor reached a landmark 2,000 winners worldwide when Sky Hunter won the Listed Foundation Stakes at Goodwood, UK.
In December 2016, Godolphin launched Club Godolphin; a website platform designed to reward fans which includes exclusive content, competitions and prize giveaways. http://club.godolphin.com/
- Godolphin has horses in training with: Saeed bin Suroor, (UK & UAE), Charlie Appleby (racehorse trainer) (UK & UAE), John O'Shea (AUS), John Gosden (UK), Richard Hannon (UK), Richard Fahey (UK), Clive Cox (UK) Charlie Hills (UK), Hugo Palmer (UK), Roger Charlton (UK), Lee & Anthony Freedman (AUS), Andre Fabre (FR), Henri-Alex Pantall (FR), Kiaran McLaughlin (USA), Tom Albertrani (USA), Eoin Harty (USA), Michael Stidham (USA), Jim Bolger (IRE), Michael Halford (IRE), Willie McCreery (IRE).
Some of Godolphin's top horses include:
- African Story
- Blue Bunting
- Cape Verdi
- Dawn Approach
- Discreet Cat
- Dubai Millennium
- Fantastic Light
- Kayf Tara
- Mark of Esteem
- Moon Ballad
- Music Note
- Prince Bishop
- Refuse To Bend
- Street Cry
- Moulton Paddocks
- "Statistics: Godolphin's Group and Listed wins". godolphin.com. October 2013. Archived from the original on 10 October 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- Walker, Guy (22 April 2013). "Godolphin rocked by Al Zarooni revelations". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
- "Sheikh Mohammed tells of fury over Al Zarooni doping scandal". Cambridge News. 24 April 2013.
- http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21576709-sport-kings-sullied-giddy-nags Doping racehorses: Giddy nags
- Saeed bin Suroor