Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old has hardly looked back since a disappointing run in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and should he turn up in Paris on the first Sunday in October again, he will carry far more solid credentials.
Ghaiyyath won easily at Meydan on his first start in 2020, broke the track record in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket, delivered Enable’s first UK defeat for three years and has now dismissed a small but select field in what is traditionally one of the hottest races of the season.
Deploying front-running tactics, William Buick wound up the tempo in the straight before kicking for home well over a furlong out and high-class rivals such as Magical, Lord North and 2000 Guineas winner Kameko never looked like getting on terms.
“I’m delighted with that. It was straightforward, a great performance and a great front-running ride by William,” said Appleby.
“He’s not let us down this year and as I said right at the start of the year, he’s more the finished article now. I’m just delighted for the whole team.
“I’ve said before that last year he took time to get over races as he put so much in, but right from the get-go we weren’t seeing those dips this year.
“It’s a great credit to the team at home and talking to His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed), horses like him are what Godolphin is all about. To have him deliver on each occasion is fantastic for everybody.”
While he ran in the Arc last year on the back of a 14-length win in a Group One in Germany, if he goes this year it will be following a Group One hat-trick including two of the biggest races of the season.
“In the Arc it was soft ground, off the back of a big performance in Germany and because of his draw we made him go forward, this year we’re letting him do it himself,” Appleby explained.
“The option of going back to the Arc is there, but we’ve seen in his last two races how good he is over 10 furlongs. There’s the Irish Champion, the Arc, the Breeders’ Cup and Japan as well so there are plenty of options.”
“Of course I’d love to go for the Arc, it’s the race all of us in Europe want to win. We didn’t run him in it last year to make up the numbers and given what he did in Germany, we thought we had an Arc contender – hopefully this year we might be looking towards one.”
Appleby also refused to rule out Ghaiyyath remaining in training at six, adding: “Sheikh Mohammed has left some of his best horses in training at six, they are lovely conversations to have and I’m sure we’ll spend plenty of time talking about the future.”
As for Buick, he hailed Ghaiyyath as one of the best middle-distance horses he has ever ridden.
He said: “It was straightforward, but we’ve seen it before from him – I let him get into a rhythm and he does the rest.
“He’s certainly one of the best middle-distance horse I’ve ridden, probably the best. He gives you confidence.
“I think he’s a different horse this year, but at the same time he wouldn’t want to go to Paris if the ground was like it was last year – even Enable got beat in it last year.
“I wouldn’t be afraid of taking on Enable, but there’d be more than just those two in it, it would be a big field.
“We know he stays a mile and a half, but his form looks better at a mile and a quarter now – but on good ground a mile and a half is fine.”
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