Ghaiyyath backed up a fine run by making all of the Eclipse Stakes running at Sandown Park and defeated Enable.
On a day when powerful global owners Godolphin had beaten favourites Cross Counter and Victor Ludorum, Charlie Appleby’s five-year-old added another Group 1 win to his CV getting a largely uncontested lead again.
The question hanging over Ghaiyyath coming into the Eclipse Stakes was could he put good performances together? After maturing and Appleby insisting he is the finished article, he did.
John Gosden told anyone who would listen that six-year-old Enable needed the run, so he was right. A place worse than when winning the Eclipse Stakes last year at evens isn’t bad, though.
She was 2 1/4 lengths behind Ghaiyyath and a head in front of Japan. Aidan O’Brien only had minor places here with that one and Magic Wand back in fourth.
An Eclipse Stakes success for Ghaiyyath gives him options going forward. He has the pace for 1m 2f races or could go back up to 1m 4f.
In the immediate aftermath of the Sandown feature, bookmakers still had Enable favourite for the King George at Ascot. The 2/1 didn’t last, though, with punters clearly believing she may come on for her reappearance.
Ghaiyyath ranged in price for that from 7/2 down to 5/2. When pressed about his target, however, Appleby hinted at the Juddmonte International during York’s Ebor Festival.
The Eclipse Stakes one-two could meet again in the autumn in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. Both are prominent in the market for France’s most famous race now.
While Epsom Oaks heroine Love heads the betting at a general 4/1, Enable is a best-price 6/1 and Ghaiyyath 8/1. That was their end-of-season target last term, and is certainly the plan with Gosden’s mare.
Analysis: Eclipse Stakes field don’t learn Coronation Cup lessons
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Ghaiyyath allowed to dictate terms is a recipe for disaster. William Buick did exactly the same thing aboard him as at Newmarket last month.
Anyone who watched the Coronation Cup ran there instead of on Epsom Downs knows this one horse you should let loose on the front.
Again, there was a hint of some rivals using the Eclipse Stakes as a pipe-opener for other things. Gosden said Enable was at 85 per cent for it, and she came up a little short.
Connections of Ghaiyyath are campaigning him pretty well this year. Appleby looks to have found the key with him, but the opposition played right into his hands here.
This was a third Group 1 success for the son of Dubawi. Ghaiyyath is also three from three outings in 2023 nowand it’s all about where next now.
He has had a month break from Newmarket to Sandown. Appelby cannot give Ghaiyyath that much time between races if they go for the King George.
Waiting for the Juddmonte International makes more sense. An Eclipse Stakes win under a good ride means a mile-and-a-quarter is no problem for him.
Japan came on his disappointing display at Royal Ascot but was only a place better. I always felt he would need his reappearance after observing him in the flesh when undercooked for last year’s Dante at York.
The day got better as it wore on at Sandown for Godolphin. Both sprinter Lazuli and Cross Counter ran below their best and official ratings earlier on the card.
That won’t matter to Sheikh Mohammed, however, as his operation had a record sixth winner of the Eclipse Stakes. Ghaiyyath is going great guns for the boys in blue with the scalp of Enable well worth having.