This one was a win for the ages. The Charlie Appleby-trained Ghaiyyath romped home in stunning fashion and in doing so, claimed the course record.
It took just 2 minutes and 25.89 seconds over the one and a half mile trip for Ghaiyyath to stamp his authority in Godolphin’s Group 1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket on Friday.
Having been stationed in Dubai during the winter, Ghaiyaath returned to Britain to begin his five-year-old season in the UK, and did so with a bang.
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The son of Dubawi under William Buick made every yard of the running to win from the 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck by two and a half lengths.
Stradivarius, a multiple Group 1 winner, was two and a half lengths further down in third, followed by Broom and last year’s winner Defoe in the silks of Dubai’s Sheikh Obaid Mohammed.
Make no mistake, this was a bone rattling victory.
“You couldn’t be confident coming up against that caliber of horse, but we felt that we had Ghaiyyath in great order,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.
“He is very similar to Blue Point last year – going into his five-year-old season, we felt that we had the finished article.”
The Coronation Cup became the second G1 success for Ghaiyyath. The first came in the way of a 14-length triumph in the Grosser Preis von Baden in Germany in September last year.
Ghaiyyath had raced in February, claiming the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan and has been in terrific order since.
“When Ghaiyyath won the Dubai Millennium Stakes earlier this year, we were more impressed with how he took it post-race,” Appleby added.
“We will see over the next day or two if he can show the same characteristics as he showed out there and maintain his weight.
“In the past, he has always had to have that gap between his races because he puts so much into them that it is hard to get his tank filled up again.
“He looked [like] a million dollars today and full credit to Godolphin and the team, and most importantly His Highness Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid, Vice president and Ruler of Dubai], who has followed this horse right from the start of his career.
“Ghaiyyath’s victory in Germany last year was emphatic, which threw us into the Arc.
“Conditions and the style of racing didn’t suit him at Longchamp that day – it was a tough race on the front-end. I thought that he would be a horse who would love a bit of ease in the ground but we clearly know now that his best performances have come on fast ground.
“I would like to think that we could work back from the Arc again. We have always felt as though coming back to 10 furlongs is never going to worry us when you have that natural pace.
“Potentially, we might look at the 10-furlong options during the summer and then hopefully work back from the Arc. The concern will be what the ground could be like at that time of year because he is clearly a better horse on fast ground.”
Buick was naturally impressed by Ghaiyyath’s performance.
“He is a very explosive horse, who can also sustain a gallop,” he said.
“It was a deep field today – Stradivarius was coming back in trip but he is still a very, very, good stayer with a turn of foot, Anthony Van Dyck is a Derby winner and Defoe won this race last year. It was a good race and a very good performance.
“He has phenomenal mid-race pace, a fantastic cruising speed, which I think is very rare to see in a horse that stays as well as he does.
“I don’t think I have ridden many horses that have as high a cruising speed as him. Coming back to a mile and a quarter wouldn’t pose any question to him at all.”