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Ghaiyyath takes Longines World’s Best Racehorse title


Ghaiyyathinfo-icon’s phenomenal year has been officially recognised by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, who crowned the son of Dubawi as Longines World’s Best Racehorse for 2020 in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, 26 January.

In a spectacular five-year-old campaign, Ghaiyyath won four of his five starts including three at G1 level.

After scoring emphatically in the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan, the Charlie Appleby-trained entire smashed the 12-furlong course record at Newmarket with a relentless display in the G1 Coronation Cup in June.

The Godolphin standard-bearer continued to dominate the middle-distance division in Europe as he comfortably beat 2019 Longines World’s Best Racehorse co-recipient Enable with another all-the-way success in the G1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park in July.

Ghaiyyath’s third G1 victory of 2020, and fourth in total, was even more impressive as he powered home by three lengths in the Juddmonte International in August. His performance at York saw him run to a mark of 130, 4lbs higher than that achieved by Authentic in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Only Harbinger, Frankel and Cirrus des Aigles have recorded higher ratings in the UK over the last 10 years.

Ghaiyyath’s commanding success over a field that included prolific G1 winner Magical, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes hero Lord North and 2,000 Guineas victor Kameko also helped see the York highlight receive the Longines World’s Best Horserace accolade.

Joe Osborne, Managing Director, Godolphin Ireland, said: “In some ways, Ghaiyyath was the perfect racehorse, he had so many positive attributes. He was the perfect racehorse of 2020 – he was campaigned internationally and was at that age to be at peak form. That’s the kind of brand ambassador that Godolphin has been famous for down the years.

“His high cruising speed and ability to find added acceleration at the end of his races was what really set him apart. Beating Enable in the Eclipse was very rewarding and really stamped him as being a top-class horse. When you win a race like that, you win it fair and square and there are no excuses. You have to go out there and, in some ways, do it the hard way.

“It is a great recognition for the horse and for Godolphin to have a brand like Longines behind awards like this; to have an external body, that is so well-respected, say that this is the world’s best racehorse in 2020.”

Charlie Appleby said: “It was a great privilege to be involved with a horse like Ghaiyyath. Right from the start, he has been one of our horses that we have been very fond of. To train a horse like this for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin is a great honour.

“Ghaiyyath’s 2020 season was a year that we always felt he was the finished article. Starting his year at Meydan in the Dubai Millennium Stakes, we saw a devastating performance. Coming into Europe, he was that finished article mentally and physically, and the package to go to war with.

“The most pleasing victory of 2020 was the Juddmonte International. I felt that it confirmed what we had seen in the Eclipse, where he beat Enable. People said that it may have been the luck of the run around Sandown but he went and confirmed it all in the Juddmonte International.”

William Buick said: “I don’t think much fazed Ghaiyyath last year. He was the complete package, the finished article. I think we could have thrown anything at him and I don’t think he would have minded. As a world Champion, you have to have everything, you have to tick every box, you have to deal with different situations, and he did that.

“On raw ability and flair, I think Ghaiyyath is the best middle-distance horse that I have ever ridden. On his day, like in the Juddmonte International, I don’t think there is a horse that could have beaten him. His performances spoke for themselves; they were amazing.”

Godolphin was also represented among the top 10 Longines World’s Best Racehorses by Persian King and Bivouac, who tied for third with five other horses on a rating of 125.

Persian King annexed the G1 Prix d'Ispahan and G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in France for Andre Fabre, while Bivouac ended the year as the joint highest-rated sprinter in the world following a sensational win for James Cummings in Australia’s G1 Darley Sprint Classic.