Dubai: Ghaiyyath, Godolphin’s middle-distance powerhouse, is set kickstart the Dubai-owned stable’s campaign at York’s famous Ebor meeting on Wednesday when he contests the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, the opening day’s highlight at the four-day festival.
The meeting will be held sans crowds due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place in Britain.
A five-year-son of Darley’s superstar stallion, Dubawi, Ghaiyyath is chasing a Group 1 hat-trick following his record-breaking win in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket in June and when he brought down the colours of the great Enable in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park in July.
He faces five high quality rivals, including Kameko, the 2,000 Guineas (G1) winner, and multiple Group 1 scorer Magical, plus Lord North, the Group 1 Prince of Wales hero who is also a son of Dubawi.
“This could be one of the best races of the season, and it is exciting to be part of it,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.
“It is the first time the top three-year-olds will be taking on the older horses at this trip (the Eclipse was restricted to four-year-olds and up this year).
“The Juddmonte was always the plan for Ghaiyyath. He has proven himself at the highest level, most recently in the Eclipse, where he was coming back in distance.
“I’ve been asked whether I was surprised the way he won the Coronation Cup, and the honest answer is ‘no.’ You don’t win a G1 by 14 lengths like he did in Germany (2019 Grosser Preis Von Baden) by being just an OK horse. You’ve got to be pretty special... and he is special,” Appleby added.
I’ve been asked whether I was surprised the way he won the Coronation Cup, and the honest answer is ‘no.’ You don’t win a G1 by 14 lengths like he did in Germany (2019 Grosser Preis Von Baden) by being just an OK horse. You’ve got to be pretty special... and he is special
“He’s the finished article now, and that has a lot to do with it. He’s shown that he has grown up mentally and physically, and he taken his races so well this season.
“He was digging deep over the final furlong in the Eclipse, yet he came back fine. It was no harder race for him than the Coronation Cup, which he won going an end-to-end gallop over a mile and a half in record time,” he continued.
“He showed maturity at Sandown. He showed he was manageable in a race, which is the result of growing up.
Godolphin has won the Juddmonte Internationa Stakes four times in the past with Halling (1885-’96), Sakhee (2001) and Sulamani (2004).
The Ebor Meeting
Wednesay’ s feature, the Juddmonte International Stakes, was ranked number one among all thoroughbred horse races in the world 2012–14. It was famously won by Frankel, considered by some the as the best thoroughbred in history.
Thursday’s care, also known as Ladies Day, is highlighted by the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, which is regularly the highest rated mare and fillies race in Europe. It was won twice by the “Queen of the Turf” - Enable.
On Friday, it’s the turn of the big sprint, the Coolmore Nunthorpe which was ranked as the highest rated 1,000m sprint in the world again last year. It was won by Bhattash who set a new course record of 55.9 seconds
The Festival comes to a close on Saturday with the Ebor, which since 1843 is the oldest and most famous handicap run at York.