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Ribchester's trainer Fahey full of praise for 'proper gentleman'

Richard Fahey: enjoyed a great working relationship with John Ferguson
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Richard Fahey, trainer of Godolphin star miler Ribchester, has expressed how much he enjoyed working with John Ferguson, who left the employment of Sheikh Mohammed on Tuesday.

The former chief executive and racing manager of Godolphin’s global operations stepped down from his role following a much-publicised relationship breakdown with trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.

Many Godolphin insiders closed ranks on Wednesday and declined to comment on Ferguson’s departure, amid rumours employees had been instructed not to be quoted in the media. 

However, Fahey, who prepared Ribchester to land last month’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury impressively from Lightning Spear – the second Group 1 success of the four-year-old’s career – said: “John was a gentleman to work with, as are all the Godolphin team.

The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester and William Buick win the Lockinge
“He has a great way about him. He would never walk past without talking to you – and he’d be like that with everyone.

“He's a proper gentleman with a great work ethic. He’s a very successful man, and you can see why.”

Ferguson, appointed chief executive in December 2015 after the Mahmood Al Zarooni drugs scandal, spent a 25-year spell working for Sheikh Mohammed.

His sudden departure from Godolphin proved a great shock to many who had benefited from his support and knowledge over the years, including Amy Starkey, managing director of Newmarket Racecourses.

Ferguson worked closely with Starkey on a number of Newmarket matters, including sponsorship of the Group 1 Darley July Cup and the creation of Dubai Future Champions Day.

With the support of Ferguson and Sheikh Mohammed, Dubai Future Champions Day was soon upgraded to a two-day Dubai Future Champions Festival, with increased prize-money and a plethora of Group-race action.

Amy Starkey: Looking forward to the summer
Starkey said: “I was very sorry to hear the news that John is leaving Godolphin. I'd like to thank him for the guidance, drive, vision and commitment he's shown to Newmarket and the Dubai Future Champions Festival.

“His lasting legacy will continue to be built upon at Newmarket, particularly with regard to the Darley July Cup and Dubai Future Champions Festival.

“It's been an honour and a privilege to work with John. He's been amazing.”

There is no news yet of Ferguson’s permanent successor. Joe Osborne, managing director of Godolphin in Ireland, has taken up the position of interim chief executive of Godolphin’s global operation.

He's a proper gentleman with a great work ethic. He’s a very successful man, and you can see why
E.W. Terms