ParisLongchamp: Godolphin Derby hope Ghaiyyath returns for clash with Willie John

Fri 21 Sep 2018

There is a fascinating contest in France on Saturday when Charlie Appleby’s Autumn Stakes winner Ghaiyyath takes on Roger Varian’s unbeaten Willie John in the Prix du Prince D’Orange at ParisLongchamp.

Ghaiyyath went into the winter as Godolphin’s leading contender for the Derby, which Sheikh Mohammed’s operation won with stablemate Masar.

Unfortunately an injury picked up earlier in the year has kept the Dubawi colt off the track until now.

“Ghaiyyath met with a setback in the spring, but his preparation going into this race has gone well,” said Appleby ahead of the Group Three contest.

“We are looking forward to getting him back on track, although he will come forward for whatever he does this weekend.”

Appleby has cleaned up in France this season and also runs Stage Magic, a Group Three winner last season but not sighted since the Feilden Stakes in April.

“Stage Magic has been off since the spring and has been gelded, which has definitely helped with his focus,” Appleby told

“He also showed a high level of form as a two-year-old, winning a Group Three race, and this will be a stepping stone towards hopefully taking him out to Dubai for the winter.”

Willie John created a stir when he won on his debut at Yarmouth, after which he was sold out of William Haggas’ yard for 1.9million guineas.

He won on his debut for Varian at Doncaster by five lengths.

“Willie John won in good style at Doncaster and I have been very pleased with his home work since. This looks a strong but select field, although we feel he is ready for the step up in grade,” Varian told his website.

Martyn Meade saddles Chilean, while the best of the home team could be Sacred Life.

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