Founded in 1992 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, now Ruler of Dubai, Godolphin is the largest thoroughbred horse racing and bloodstock operation in the world. The enterprise is named in honour of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the three foundation sires that were the progenitors of the Thoroughbred breed who, in turn, was named after his most famous owner, Francis, Second Earl of Godolphin.
Godolphin has its headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, but is a truly global operation with stables and breeding establishments in Britain, Ireland, France, the United States, Japan and Australia. In Britain, Godolphin operates two training yards, Moulton Paddocks and Godolphin Stables, formerly Stanley House Stables, both of which are in Newmarket.
Between 2010 and 2013, Moulton Paddocks was run by Mahmood Al Zarooni, who was ‘warned off’ for eight years by the British Horseracing Authority after admitting administering anabolic steroids to a total of 15 horses in his care, effectively ending his career in racing. Al Zarooni was subsequently replaced by Charlie Appleby, who had previously worked for Sheikh Mohammed for 15 years, including as assistant trainer to Al Zarooni.
Appleby splits his year between Moulton Paddocks, in the summer, and Marmoom Stables, situated in the desert to the south of the City of Dubai, in the winter. From his winter base, Appleby principally prepares his string for the most valuable race meeting in the world, the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which is staged annually between January and March at nearby Meydan Racecourse. Godolphin Stables, on the other hand, is the summer base of the longest-standing Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor. He, too, splits his year between Newmarket and Dubai, spending the winter months in Al Quoz Stables in the heart of the City of Dubai.
Over the years, Godolphin has employed several high-profile jockeys, including Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, Silvestre de Sousa and Mickaël Barzalona, who remains the principal Godolphin rider in France. In Britain, the iconic royal blue silks are most often worn by retained jockeys William Buick and James Doyle. All told, Godolphin has produced over 5,000 winners worldwide, including 300 at Group One, or Grade One, level. Landmark victories include the first ever Classic winner for Godolphin, Balanchine, ridden by Frankie Dettori, in the Oaks in 1994 and, more recently, the first ever Derby winner, Masar, ridden by William Buick in 2018.