If you've got $5 for every rumour circulating around John O'Shea's imminent departure from Godolphin you're suddenly retired.

Everyone, and for that read everyone, has an opinion.

Much of that centres around did O'Shea jump, or was he pushed.

That is largely irrelevant. The fact is for sure the parting of the ways will be in the next 48 hours.


The real issue is who will replace him.

Thoroughbred Weekly covered that issue with humour in its Saturday roundup yesterday morning.

Saturday morning a couple of the major Australian betting operators opened a market in the Godolphin replacement.They opened James Cummings and Lee Freedman around $8-$9 each and the rush to get on Cummings saw him come into less than $2 with Freedman at any old odds.

So heavy was the Cummings support bookies closed the bet option.

Yesterday Thoroughbred Weekly put up its market: $1.55 James Cummings, $5 Lee Freedman, $6 Tony McEvoy, $10 Charles Appleby and for humour, $600 Bryce Stanaway and $1000 Greg Radley.

Probably the greatest certainty is that O'Shea was pushed, although we may never know the entire truth about that. A job that entails training one of the most powerful arms of the Maktoum thoroughbred operation and one that returns something like a couple of million dollars a year is not something you'd readily walk away from.

It's not as though the results were not there and, as O'Shea himself points out how much better would Godolphin's year have been without Winx.

But for Winx, Hartnell would have won the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, A$3 million Cox Plate and A$250,000 Warwick Stakes.

A tidy job for someone, but these things are as risky as horses themselves. Re-starting your own stable from scratch when leaving a private training job like Godolphin is not for the faint hearted.

We've said this several times in the last 12 months - but how good are the emerging young horses at the moment. The overall class appears to be getting better with each month or two.

Take Saturday at Te Rapa. Sweet Leader, Killarney and Prince Hareem are all topliners in waiting that are essentially untapped and Splurge showed he was going to put his foot in the Brisbane cash register.

The best horses can run remarkable sectionals and Sweet Leader, Killarney and Prince Hareem could not possibly win in running. The closing sectionals from each to win were startling.

Splurge won without being tested.

Even a lot of the placed runners. Flamingo produced a stunner to come from last to third in the Cambridge Breeders Stakes.

Former New Zealander and still owned here, Shillelagh showed what she could do when she got a firm track with her stunning domination of the mares in the A$175,000 Godolphin Trophy at Hawkesbury.

We are in for a remarkable era in thoroughbred class.