Ghaiyyath completed a Group 1 hat-trick for the season with a classy success in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York’s Ebor Festival.
The Godolphin owned five-year-old was always favourite with bookmakers for the extended 1m 2f test once trainer Charlie Appleby named it as his next big target.
Sent off at 11/8, Ghaiyyath made all in his customary style under retained rider William Buick. He only needed shaking up approaching two out and that put the Juddmonte International to bed.
Buick and Ghiayyath had each of his four rivals hard at it then, as he stayed on strongly for a three-length victory over Aidan O’Brien mare Magical. She in turn was a 1 1/4 lengths in front of Prince Of Wales’s Stakes hero Lord North.
Despite the gamble on Coolmore’s Irish raider into 9/4, Buick eased Ghaiyyath down in the final strides after another fine ride. He continues setting the right fractions on this front-running types and the horse keeps winning.
Ghaiyyath followed-up on lowering the colours of the mighty Enable in the Eclipse at Sandown. The first leg of his hat-trick was a similar all-the-way success in the Coronation Cup, run at Newmarket this year.
With four consecutive victories in 2023, Ghaiyyath is also setting the pace for Cartier Horse of the Year. On this evidence, he will take some catching.
Adding the Juddmonte International to previous exploits gave the bookies no option but to slash his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe odds further. Ghaiyyath is now a best-price 6/1 with 888Sport for Europe’s richest race at Longchamp on 4 October.
Only dual winner Enable and exciting three-year-old filly Love are shorter in the market. Ghaiyyath beat the former earlier in the campaign.
Analysis: Options abound for Ghaiyyath besides Arc
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Ghaiyyath bombed out in the Arc last autumn, so why go to Paris again? There is unfinished business perhaps but, after such a busy and fruitful campaign, a mile-and-a-half on soft at Longchamp won’t be ideal.
While Ghaiyyath might get that trip on a sounder surface, it’s an indicator that staying over 10 furlongs might suit him better. That brings the Champion Stakes at Ascot into consideration for his powerful connections with Betfair now 5/2 about his chances.
The ground probably won’t be much better in Berkshire later in October. The middle and long-distance British Champions Day races last year took place on the inner hurdles course.
Running in the Arc means giving lumps of weight to a young filly like Love whose stamina looks in no doubt. A further market move could well happen if she lands the Yorkshire Oaks tomorrow.
If better ground is the key to Ghaiyyath, then the Breeders’ Cup Turf in Keeneland is another option. He has already punched his ticket to America’s premier festival.
Just because he has qualified doesn’t mean Godolphin will take up the invitation. Ghaiyyath is a standout 9/2 with Betway for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
He is now undoubtedly the finished article. A younger Ghaiyyath didn’t back up efforts, but a Group 1 hat-trick ends all doubts about his ability to reproduce.
The last option for him is the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on 12 September. That is a short turnaround time for Ghaiyyath, but Appleby wasn’t shy about sending Pinatubo over to the Emerald Isle for that meeting last season.
Wherever he turns up next, those all blue silks are a fearsome sight. It is not necessary all about the Arc for Ghaiyyath moving forward after proving himself a top mile-and-a-quarter horse.