Speculation about a new Australian head trainer for Godolphin continues despite no confirmation John O’Shea has resigned.
James Cummings was the favourite with a corporate bookmaker on Saturday when the reports broke but the market has since been taken down.
Tony McEvoy and Lee Freedman are other names said to be in the mix along with Englishman James Ferguson, assistant trainer to Charlie Appleby.
Ferguson travelled to Australia with the Appleby-trained horses in the spring and more recently this autumn when Polarisation won the Sydney Cup.
O’Shea is believed to be in the process of negotiating a severance package, three years into a five-year contract, ahead of an extended break from training.
He took over the role from Peter Snowden in May, 2014 and has trained 10 Group One winners under Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley and Godolphin banners.
Godolphin operates Australian stables at Warwick Farm, Flemington and at Osborne Park, a private training complex on Sydney’s north-western outskirts.
O’Shea has trained more than 500 winners for Sheikh Mohammed, highlighted by successive Group One Golden Rose victories with Exosphere and Astern.
O’Shea’s impending resignation continues a controversial period for Godolphin’s Australian operation with its stable jockey James McDonald serving an 18-month disqualification for being involved in a betting scandal.
News of O’Shea’s decision comes less than a month after he trained It’s Somewhat to win the $3 million Doncaster Mile.
He has so far trained 168 winners this season.