Enable vs Ghaiyyath: Coral-Eclipse is the race of the season says Charlie Appleby

Horse Racing Ghaiyyath runs in Coral-Eclipse
Ghaiyyath: Godolphin star takes on Enable in Coral-Eclipse Stakes. Photo: Godolphin

GB: Although John Gosden warns that Enable will need the race, Ghaiyyath’s trainer Charlie Appleby says the dual Arc winner deserves the utmost respect in Sunday’s Coral-Eclipse Stakes – a race he is billing ‘the race of the season’.

Update: Ghaiyyath beats Enable in race of the season – here’s the Coral-Eclipse takeaway

According to official ratings, just 2lb separates Enable – at 128 the world’s top-rated horse – and Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath who broke the 1m4f track record on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile last time out when beating Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and triple Gold Cup winner Stradivarius in the Coronation Cup.

The pair line up among a field of seven at Sandown on Sunday for the latest renewal of the 1m2f event, which is part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

“I think we can quite confidently state that it’s the race of the season so far,” said Appleby. “You’ve got two of the highest-rated horses in the world and the others are certainly no mugs. It’s going to be a great race and it’s no wonder everyone is looking forward to it.

“Enable is the most wonderful racemare and we’ve all got her to beat. I’m sure John has an autumn campaign very much as his goal but we are always going to treat her with the utmost respect.”

Appleby told the Qipco British Champions Series press team that he has no concerns about dropping Ghaiyyath back in distance. “If you could have stopped the race two furlongs out at Newmarket you would have been a lot more comfortable than going into the last furlong, where we were waiting for something to attack,” he said. “Two furlongs out he was still travelling very powerfully when everything else was having to start making their move.

“Everyone has seen what he can do in the past but it’s been in Germany, France and Dubai, whereas last time it was the first occasion in England he’s put up a performance like that.

“I think everybody sat back and said ‘wow, he’s a serious racehorse’. I’m pleased for him more than anything because he’s just as generous and enthusiastic at home and we’ve always known he’s got that big engine.

“The depth of the Coronation Cup meant what he did was very much respected,” Appleby added.

“I know it was a different ball game, trip wise, but to see Stradivarius try and make that mid-race move on him showed the calibre of race we were dealing with. What he did in the Gold Cup afterwards puts the race into perspective.”

When he last took on Enable, Ghaiyyath could only finish tenth in last year’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which followed a 14 length win in the Grosser Preis von Baden.

Appleby said: “He’s put up big performances in the past and not always backed them up but, as a five-year-old, we are dealing with a different animal. We’ve got the finished article and all the post-race signs since the Coronation Cup have been good.

“After his races this year he’s gone straight back to his feed pot and got straight back to routine exercise whereas before the Arc we had to do our best to freshen him up. That has really been the only race where he has not performed but I put that down to a couple of things – his previous big performance in Germany, soft ground and a testing race.

“He’s got a long stride and it’s a matter of letting him get into a comfortable rhythm. He’s had a lead in the past but the others can only do it for so long as they are just not quick enough.”

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