Darley is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's global thoroughbred breeding operation, which currently stands stallions in seven countries around the world.
Darley stood stallions in China for the first time in 2012. Jalil, who won the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge for Godolphin in Dubai and is by the influential Storm Cat, stands at Lisui Farm in Beijing, alongside G1 Spring Champion Stakes winner Sousa.
Darley’s headquarters are at Dalham Hall Stud, located within the historic home of racing, Newmarket, in England. When purchased from the Philipps family in 1981, Dalham Hall stood just one stallion and employed fewer than ten people. Since the acquisition of Dalham Hall Stud, various surrounding farms have been added to Darley’s UK portfolio.
Kildangan Stud in County Kildare, Ireland, was purchased in 1986 and is now home to eight stallions. After the initial purchase of Kildangan, Ragusa Stud, Old Connell Stud, Blackhall Stud and Ballymany Stud were also purchased, followed by more recent additions, Ballysheehan Stud in County Tipperary and Woodpark Stud in County Meath.
Darley’s global expansion continued in 2001 with the purchase of Jonabell Farm, located in the famous bluegrass state of Kentucky in the United States. Founded in 1946 by renowned breeder John A Bell III, Jonabell has produced over 200 Stakes winners and stands 17 stallions in 2012.
Darley in Japan was established in June 2002 and has expanded considerably over the last ten years.
It is a truly international farm and their current roster of seven stallions includes both Japanese stallions such as G1 Japanese Derby winner Deep Sky; talented young sire Admire Moon, four-time NAR Horse of the Year Furioso, plus stallions that were bred and raced in other parts of the world such as King's Best, Street Sense and Pyro.
Admire Moon has done particularly well and is of special significance as in 2007 Sheikh Mohammed purchased the G1 winner who went on to land the G1 Japan Cup in his famous silks. For him to succeed so early in his stud career is a great achievement.
Darley’s newest farm in Japan, Shiomi Farm was purchased in 2008. It is just under 900 acres in size and is situated in Hokkaido. Darley also stocks seven smaller satellite farms with thoroughbreds on a further 700-plus acres.
In 2009, Sheikh Mohammed gained his JRA licence - becoming the first, together with Princess Haya and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum, owners living outside of Japan to do so. He has had several JRA Stakes winners in Japan and in 2011 Debonair, a Darley homebred, became his first runner in the Japanese Derby.
Darley in Australia was established in 2001. It comprises several properties (studs and training facilities) located in the leading thoroughbred areas of New South Wales and Victoria.
In addition to standing stallions, Darley also manages the racing interests of Sheikh Mohammed and various members of the Maktoum family, and has racehorses with various trainers in the UK, Ireland, France, the United States, Australia and Japan. The best of these horses will transfer to Godolphin, to race in the famous blue silks that have been carried to victory in numerous Group 1 races across the globe.
In 2003, Sheikh Mohammed founded the Darley Flying Start International Student Programme. This is a full-time, two-year, international management training for potential thoroughbred industry leaders. It sets itself apart from any other program in the world with its focus on personal development and leadership and the specialisation in the international thoroughbred business. Management training is provided by established universities including University College Dublin and the University of Sydney. Individual work placements are completed with leading thoroughbred industry organisations and individuals. During the programme, trainees live and learn in Ireland, UK, USA, Dubai and Australia. Each trainee receives a full scholarship from HH Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai.
In 2012, Sheikh Mohammed further expanded his educational portfolio with the launch of Dubai International Thoroughbred Internships. The programme is a ten-month fully funded internship for recent Chinese university graduates. During the internship, the selected trainees will gain extensive practical experience at one of Darley’s thoroughbred horse facilities in the UK, Ireland, Australia, America or Japan. In addition, trainees will travel to Dubai to gain further experience in the local horse-racing industry, and learn how His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has been instrumental in the development of the Emirate over the past 40-plus years.