Ghaiyyath powers to victory in G1 Eclipse Stakes
Ghaiyyath confirmed his position as one of the world’s top middle-distance performers when beating a star-studded field with another relentless galloping display in the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park, UK, on Sunday, 5 July.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Dubawi entire, dropping back to a mile and a quarter following a superb all-the-way success in the 12-furlong G1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket on Friday, 5 June, broke on terms and took up the running after a furlong.
Ghaiyyath continued to dictate from the front and still appeared full of running under William Buick as Japan moved up to try and mount a challenge entering the final quarter-mile. The Godolphin runner resolutely saw off Japan with a furlong to race and galloped out powerfully, with superstar mare Enable staying on to take second, two and a quarter-lengths behind the impressive winner.
Charlie Appleby said: "I am delighted and many congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the team at Godolphin. It’s a big day today and Ghaiyyath has been a yard favourite. We have always held him in high esteem and he has delivered again for us.
“Dropping back to 10 furlongs was never a concern and we felt that the track here suits front-runners. We always had immense respect for Enable, who we feel has lost nothing in defeat, and it was a good battle up the straight. I thought it was a great race and what racing needs.
“It was a fantastic ride by William. We weren’t sure what the tactics were going to be today but I told William to pop away once he hit the lids and assess it once the gates opened. He has given the horse a fantastic ride from the front and has obviously got a very willing partner in Ghaiyyath.
“I wondered how much he had done early on when they were coming to him up the straight but Ghaiyyath wears his heart on his sleeve and was never going to lie down.
“Through his three and four-year-old career, Ghaiyyath put up those big performances and always took his time to come out of them. Post-race, you would always see how winning so well took a lot out of him. I have said that he is the finished article this year but we will take it one day at a time and see how he comes out of this.
“The one thing we learned from his win in Dubai earlier this year was that he was taking his races better. We went to the Coronation Cup and were again delighted with his post-race condition. We toyed with the idea of going to Royal Ascot for the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes but decided to allow us a couple more weeks to come here as the track can favour a front-runner.
“We have always felt that York would suit him as it is a nice even track, so the G1 Juddmonte International is an option. One thing he has shown is his versatility over 10 and 12 furlongs but he has had a race on his hands today, so we will see where we are over the next week and then decide whether to head to York or give him a bit more time. There is plenty of racing over the autumn, so I don’t think we need to make too many rash decisions.
“We went to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last year feeling that we had an Arc horse. Unfortunately, the ground went very soft and it was a very strongly-run race, which he paid for in the end. Our plan was always to work back from another crack at the Arc and, if Enable is in the race, we will have to take her on again. We will see but we are delighted with today’s success – it is a success that Ghaiyyath is entitled to, from what we have seen in the past.”
William Buick said: “Today’s victory was important for Ghaiyyath. Last year was very in and out for him – he had some fantastic performances but also some disappointments due to circumstances.
“He had a normal break since the Coronation Cup, about a month, and he has backed it up coming back down to a mile and a quarter. That was a great performance and, from a rider’s point of view, he is becoming a lot more manageable and has really grown up. He is an amazing horse to ride, he really is.
“Ghaiyyath has a huge cruising speed and knows how to use it. He has won over this distance before but it was his first go at a mile and a quarter at G1 level, although it worked out well. He was in a nice rhythm the whole way and Charlie had him in great shape. He is a very, very good horse.
“You see him before his races now and he is really taking it very well. Everything that I saw and felt today was great.
“I thought during the week that this could potentially be billed as the race of the season. You look at the horses that lined up and it is a great field. This horse is a great, he has shown it there today, but we all have great respect for Enable as well. You have to give her a mention because she has won 10 G1 races and I am sure she will be back to doing what she can do.
“I think a mile and a quarter is his optimum trip because he is very fast, with a very high cruising speed. Sometimes when you ride him over a mile and a half, you are always worried that the last furlong is going to be a long one but he keeps going. He is obviously very effective over both distances.”