Dubai: Ghaiyyath ready for Sheema Classic after Meydan comeback rout

Ghaiyyath (William Buick) saunters home on his seasonal debut at Meydan.
Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen

By Nicholas Godfrey

UAE: Ghaiyyath set himself up for the Dubai Sheema Classic with a totally dominant track-record performance against inferior rivals at Meydan on Thursday.

Running for the first time since flopping in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Godolphin’s son of Dubawi took command early in the Dubai Millennium Stakes and never relinquished his advantage before an 8½-length victory over Charlie Appleby-trained stablemate Spotify.

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He stopped the clock in 2m00.33s for the 2,000 metres (1m2f), thereby establishing a new record without being asked any sort of question by William Buick. 

Norwegian Derby winner Privilegiado took third another four lengths away in what amounted to a rout – though admittedly, that was perhaps no more than to be expected given that Ghiayyath was long odds-on with British bookmakers with at least 11lb in hand if his five opponents on official ratings.

The big-striding five-year-old will now be targeted for the $6 million Sheema Classic on the Dubai World Cup card on March 28.

“The plan was to just let him float into it from his outside post and once he was on the lead, we would let him roll along,” reported Appleby. “We’ve seen on numerous occasions what he can do when he’s left to his own devices like that.

“The main thing we all know in this game is just getting these horses to breathe,” the trainer went on. “In the Arc, it was soft ground, but unfortunately he got hustled there and they went a strong gallop that day. He just could never get into a nice rhythm. Like any athlete, once you get them into a good rhythm where they’re breathing, they have the engine, which allows them to show their full potential.”

Appleby, number one trainer on the exclusive TRC global rankings, later completed a Group-race double with Zakouski in the G2 Zabeel Mile.

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He confirmed that Ghaiyyath seems at his best when fresh. “The reason we’ve come here instead of going down the classic Sheema Classic route of running in the Dubai City of Gold is that this gives us two more weeks,” he explained. 

“Hopefully now, with a run under his belt, we can just ease off on him and let him float into World Cup night and have a crack at the Sheema Classic.”

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