Ghaiyyath gives Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby perfect birthday present with Eclipse victory

Five-year-old son of Dubawi finishes ahead of super mare Enable

Jockey William Buick rides Ghaiyyath to victory in The Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, south-west of London on July 5, 2020.   / AFP / POOL / Mark Cranham

Ghaiyyath presented his trainer Charlie Appleby with the best birthday gift with a spectacular display to win the Group One Eclipse Stakes in the Godolphin silks at Sandown Park on Sunday.

William Buick got Ghaiyyath rolling out in the seven-runner field and never looked likely to be caught over the mile and-a-quarter trip, even though Frankie Dettori, on board the super mare Enable, made a vain bid to close in on him towards the end.

Ghaiyyath finished two-and-a-half lengths ahead of John Gosden’s mare in the silks of Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah with Aidan O’Brien’s Japan under Ryan Moore a further short head down in third.

With victory, Appleby’s five-year-old son of Dubawi recorded a hat-trick of wins this year after his success in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan in February and the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket on June 5.

“He's a horse we've held in the highest esteem and he's delivered again,” Appleby, who turned 45 on Sunday, said.

“It was a fantastic ride by William again. I wondered, when they came to him in the straight, how much he'd done early, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and was never going to lie down.”

The King George later this month and a second attempt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October are now likely targets for Ghaiyyath, though Appleby preferred to saviour Sunday's success.

“We just want to enjoy today,” he said, when asked of his plans for Ghaiyyath. “It's a great effort and it was a great run from Enable too; it was a great race for everybody to watch.”

Buick, who has been on board Ghaiyyath in seven of his eight victories, said the horse had good cruising speed and knew how to use it.

“He had won over a mile-and-a-quarter at Group Two level, but it was his first go over a mile-and-a-quarter in a Group One and he was in a nice rhythm the whole way,” he added.

“Charlie had him in great shape. We were obviously concerned about Enable coming into the race, but it was her first run of the season and I'm sure she'll improve from the race.

“As a horse, you go with what Ghaiyyath wants to do - he's not a horse who likes to be controlled. You just sit against him, let him use his huge stride and go when he's ready.

“He's a joy to ride and a very, very good horse. As a five year old, he's mature physically and mentally - he's becoming the finished article.

“I think a mile-and-a-quarter will be his optimum trip - he's very fast. Sometimes when you ride him over a mile-and-a-half you're always worried the last furlong is going to be a long one, but he keeps going. He's obviously very effective over both distances.”

For the John Gosden-trained Enable, it was her second successive defeat after her heart-breaking loss to Waldgeist in the Arc when she was chasing a hat-trick victories in the race.

Gosden celebrated a Group 1 prize when Mishriff, under Ioritz Mendizabal, won the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) from The Summit and Godolphin’s French 2000 Guineas hero Victor Ludorum a few hours earlier.