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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Vin Cox to be installed as managing director of Godolphin Australia

Barry Bowditch to take over at Magic Millions

Vin Cox (left) and his successor at Magic Millions Barry Bowditch
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Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox will take charge of Godolphin Australia early next year after being courted to replace Henry Plumptre at the helm of Sheikh Mohammed's southern hemisphere racing and breeding operation.

The appointment of Cox, who has been with Magic Millions since 2011, was announced by Godolphin group chief executive Joe Osborne after headhunting the former bloodstock agent at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale last month.

"I was approached by them. I hadn't really thought about it at all, but over a period of time I came to a decision to join them," Cox told ANZ Bloodstock News.

"It wasn't an easy decision, obviously having been here at Magic Millions for just over six and a half years and loving every minute of it.

"I've enjoyed the success we've had over the past few years in particular, so it's hard to leave the team that we've got here.

"I'm a horse guy though - I enjoy pedigrees, I enjoy racing and I enjoy breeding, so it was the combination of all of it that really piqued my interest."

The managing director position became vacant after Plumptre resigned in July following 16 years with Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin and Darley operations after a case of strangles at one of its Sydney stables was not reported to authorities.

Plumptre was later fined A$15,000 by Racing NSW stewards for his involvement in the non-reporting of the positive test of strangles to Godolphin-owned horse Polemic.

Godolphin Australia's trainer John O'Shea, who left his position in April and was replaced by James Cummings, was also found guilty of two charges including one of providing false and misleading evidence to stewards during an inquiry.

O'Shea was fined A$30,000 by Racing NSW stewards as a result of the guilty findings.

Cox yesterday said he would not be in a rush to make changes to the way Godolphin conducted its operations in Australia.

"It's very early days at this stage. It's such a big organisation with a huge amount of success," he said.

"I'm not sure there is too much that needs to be tinkered with. I just want to get in there and get my head around the whole organisation before deciding what needs to be done."

When Cummings was announced as O'Shea's replacement as Godolphin Australia’s trainer in May, Plumptre said Sheikh Mohammed would re-enter the yearling sales market, purchasing up to 20 young horses to supplement the breeding operation each year.

"I haven't got that far into the job at this stage, so it's a bit early for me to comment, but being a sales guy and enjoying purchasing yearlings as I did when I was a bloodstock agent it is something that would appeal to me," Cox said.

Osborne, who only took over as chief executive in June after John Ferguson resigned, said Cox's broad knowledge of racing and breeding around the world would be an asset to Godolphin.

"We welcome Vin to the Godolphin team. He brings with him a wealth of international industry experience and joins us at an exciting time for our Australian operation," Osborne said.

Cox said there were initial approaches from Osborne in Europe before meeting at last month’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale in Lexington, Kentucky.

"There were a couple of phone calls from Europe and then discussions really went on in earnest at the Keeneland sales. I have known Joe Osborne for a long time," he said.

Meanwhile, Cox's imminent departure from Magic Millions has seen the promotion of the auction house's bloodstock manager Barry Bowditch to the managing director's role.

Bowditch, 34, has worked alongside Cox for a number of years, with both previously employed at fellow thoroughbred sales company Inglis.

"Obviously I'm thrilled to accept the position of managing director at Magic Millions," Bowditch said.

"I would like to thank Gerry and Katie (Harvey) for entrusting me with the role, and look forward to continuing the success that Magic Millions has achieved under Vin's leadership."

Cox was delighted Bowditch was able to continue his ascension through the Australian bloodstock industry ranks.

"The team we have got at Magic Millions is quite outstanding. It's a young, vibrant and strong team who will be successful going forward," Cox said.

“I am absolutely stoked for Barry because I was at Inglis when he started as a 16-year-old. Even way back then on his very first day he had that x-factor and it's no secret that we have been very close ever since.

"For him to be taking on the role of managing director of Magic Millions at the age of 34 is an amazing achievement by him."

Gerry Harvey, co-owner of Magic Millions with wife Katie, said Bowditch was the right candidate to take over from Cox.

"Barry was born into this role, having worked in the thoroughbred auction business all his working life," Harvey said.

"As bloodstock manager, Barry has been instrumental in Magic Millions' rise to the leading thoroughbred auction house in the Southern Hemisphere."

Cox will take up his role at Godolphin once the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale is completed in January.

"January is a big sale and we are right in the thick of the organisation around that, so I think it would be unfair on everyone, particularly Gerry and Katie, if I was to bow out and disappear before we deliver the 28th Magic Millions carnival," he said.

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I'm a horse guy though - I enjoy pedigrees, I enjoy racing and I enjoy breeding, so it was the combination of all of it that really piqued my interest
E.W. Terms
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