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

Horse Racing Ghaiyyath Sandown Park Coral Eclipse
Ghaiyyath (William Buick) after victory in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Photo: Qipco British Champions Series

By Nicholas Godfrey

So you know Ghaiyyath galloped all the way home to dethrone the great Enable in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. In fact, you probably watched the race – but here’s some other stuff you might like to know.

What’s going on?

Ghaiyyath: Juddmonte International most likely target

As soon as Ghaiyyath held off Enable to win the Coral-Eclipse, questions emerged about the Godolphin horse’s next target. The answer? Well, it’s uncertain – the King George is possible but the Juddmonte International looks by far the most likely option.

Juddmonte International: everything you need to know about Ghaiyyath the great

“York would be up there,” said trainer Charlie Appleby. “One thing he has shown is versatility over ten to 12 furlongs. 

“You don’t beat Enable having an easy run so therefore we will see where we are over the next week and decide whether to head to York or give him more time. There is plenty of racing in the autumn so I don’t think we need to making too many rash decisions.”

Round 2 at Longchamp?

Despite the bitter disappointment with Ghaiyyath in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Appleby is eyeing a return to ParisLongchamp with the Eclipse winner.

“We went to the Arc last year, not just to turn up but because we felt we have an Arc horse,” explained the trainer, who had his 45th birthday on Sunday. 

“It was a very strongly run race and on soft ground it paid in the end. The plan was always to work back for another crack at the Arc. Were Enable to be in it I would still like to take her on again.”

Ghaiyyath is 8-1 (from 20) for the Arc with both Coral and Paddy Power; the former make Oaks winner Love their new favourite at 7-2 with Enable on the 6-1 mark.

Arc betting (Coral): 7-2 Love, 6 Enable, 8 Ghaiyyath, 10 Mishriff, Serpentine, 14 Logician, 16 Japan, Sottsass, Victor Ludorum, 20 Daring Tact, Stradivarius, 25 bar.

Surely not? William Buick enjoys ‘race of the season’

Ghaiyyath’s rider William Buick was winning the Coral-Eclipse for the third time after scoring at Sandown on Enable’s sire Nathaniel and Hawkbill.

“This ranks right up there,” he said. “I thought this week that this could be billed as the race of the season. You look at the horses that lined up and it’s a great line-up. This is a great horse, as you saw, but we have great respect for Enable, who I’m sure will be back to what she does best.”

Enable: King George next after ‘perfect’ set-up race

With John Gosden suggesting Enable was only 85% fit, he described the Eclipse as “the most perfect race to point towards the King George.”

The six-year-old is 2-1 favourite with Coral to win the Ascot showpiece for the third time on July 25. “Enable has probably run similar to how she ran against Magical last year,” added Gosden. ”We have a nice platform now to go to the King George.”

King George betting (Coral): 2 Enable, 5-2 Ghaiyyath, 7-2 Magical, 7 Sottsass, 8 Japan, 10 Fanny Logan, 14 Deidre, 16 Anthony Van Dyck, Manuela De Vega, Sir Dragonet.

Gosden’s relief over Enable

Despite the champion racemare having suffered only the third defeat of her storied career, Gosden said he was a relieved man over Enable’s effort.

“She cooled out pretty well after Paris so I didn’t have the fear the race had left a mark,” he said. “I just had the feeling whether time catches up with them. As a Flat trainer I have never trained a six-year-old Flat mare before, let alone a multiple Group 1 winner.

“To me Ghaiyyath was the horse to beat and there is no doubt there is a deep sense of relief because it was never the intention to keep her in training at six.”

Horse Racing Mishriff Prix du Jockey Club French Derby Chantilly
Mishriff (Ioritz Mendizabal) wins the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly. Photo: France Galop/

French Derby: Cross-channel collection for Mishriff

Gosden also had reason to smile about events on the other side of the Channel as Mishriff claimed the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) under Ioritz Mendizabal.

The champion trainer deflected much of the credit for the Classic success to the colt’s owner-breeder Prince AA Faisal. “I was pointing him to the Dante next week at York but he wanted to go there!” said Gosden.

“I thought Mr Mendizabal rode him extremely well and had him in the perfect spot. I said he was a lengthener and he got the gap and I thought the last 100 metres were his most impressive.”

Mishriff is a 10-1 chance for the Arc with Coral; Paddy Power go double those odds. Fancy Blue, who narrowly landed the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) for Donnacha O’Brien at Chantilly on Sunday, is generally a 25-1 chance for the Arc.

Shall we talk about it?

Charlie Appleby (Ghaiyyath’s trainer): “This is a horse we’ve always held in high regard and we have seen the performance he can put up. He gained a lot of respect after the Coronation Cup. He had been an emphatic winner in France, Germany and Dubai this winter but after the Coronation Cup he gained a lot of fans and support from the British public.
“Dropping back to a mile and a quarter was never a concern. Statistically this track suits front-runners. I had immense respect for Enable who lost nothing in defeat. It was a good battle up the straight. It was a great race.
“This year the one thing we were pleased with is that he is taking his races better. We went to the Coronation and were delighted with his post-race condition. We toyed with the idea of going to the Prince of Wales’s Stakes but not for very long. We felt it was better to allow him another couple of weeks.”

William Buick (Ghaiyyath’s jockey): “Ghaiyyath doesn’t want to be controlled. You let him use his big stride and then go when he is ready. He’s a very good horse. As a five-year-old he is mature and become the finished article. He’s been taking his races very well.
“He’s got a huge cruising speed and he knows how to use it. He had won over a mile and a quarter, at Group 2 level, but it was his first go over a mile and a quarter in a Group 1 and he was in a nice rhythm the whole way.
“I think a mile and a quarter will be his best trip. He is very fast with a very high cruising speed. Sometimes over a mile and a half you worry the last furlong is going to be a long one.” 

John Gosden (Enable’s trainer): “I’ve been very open – she’s an older mare and getting to her racing weight has been a little bit of a struggle for her. I was thrilled with her run. She travelled well through the race. When you put a horse like Ghaiyyath on the lead round here on good to firm you are just not going to catch him.
“I thought she ran a magnificent race. She definitely tired in the last furlong. Frankie was thrilled with her demeanour and enthusiasm for racing which has remained intact as a six-year-old.
“She is an older mare now and it has taken a great deal more to get her to this point, but she has run a beautiful race and I couldn’t be more thrilled with her. We knew coming we were 85% and you are not going to beat a front-running horse like that around here.”

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