Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson leaves Sheikh Mohammed's team

John Ferguson
John Ferguson had been Godolphin's chief executive since 2015

The head of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin horse racing operation John Ferguson has stood down after his fallout with a trainer was made public.

It comes after trainer Saeed bin Suroor spoke of the deteriorating relationship in the Godolphin stable.

Chief executive Ferguson, who was appointed in 2015, said in a statement that given recent media articles it was clear his position was "untenable".

"The course of action is best for everyone," Ferguson added.

Ferguson was appointed chief executive and racing manager in a reshaped and streamlined Godolphin when the global racing and breeding empires of Sheikh Mohammed were merged into one operation.

He had previously been bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed, but was at that time enjoying a successful career as a jumps trainer.

However, he handed in his licence at the end of April 2016 in order to devote more time to Godolphin, who have horses in training in Dubai, Australia, Ireland, France and the USA as well as in the UK.

Joe Osborne, the current managing director of Godolphin in Ireland, will take up the position of interim chief executive of Godolphin's global operation.

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

Racing is full of whispers, quite a lot of them about Godolphin because, considering the Sheikh's vast investment, it's something of an underachiever compared with arch-rival Coolmore.

Nothing was spoken about any internal strife, however, until Saeed bin Suroor gave this newspaper interview in which he laid his unhappiness bare.

There's no way he'd have said what he did if he thought it would upset his boss, so maybe from that moment the writing was on the wall for Ferguson.

As well as trying to improve fortunes for Godolphin, the new CEO will have a few feathers to smooth as well.

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