Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby believes Ghaiyyath is in top shape to challenge Saudi Arabian Prince Khalid Abdullah’s super mare Enable in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes on Sunday.
Ghaiyyath faded and finished 10th behind Enable in testing underfoot conditions in their only previous meeting, in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.
However, the Godolphin runner returns for the rematch with two impressive victories under his belt since then, and a trip and going that’s near perfect for his front-running strengths.
Ghaiyyath won the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Meydan in February and followed up with an even better performance to take the Group 1 Coronation Cup over the mile and a half at Newmarket on June 5.
Meanwhile, Enable is making her title defence of the Eclipse after her hat-trick bid of the Arc ended in a heart-breaking defeat to Waldgeist.
Enable has won 13 of her 15 starts, including 10 Group 1 prizes, and another crack at the Arc remains her main goal.
“We have been delighted with Ghaiyyath’s preparation and feel that dropping back to a mile and a quarter is well within his comfort zone,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.
“He won over the trip out in Dubai before his Coronation Cup victory, and the plan after his latest race was always to go to the Eclipse.
“We all fully respect Enable. It will be her first run of the year and it gives us slight confidence that Ghaiyyath has a run under his belt in Europe. But we are talking about Enable, so I am not sure if it is too much of an advantage against a mare of her ability.
“It’s a great race and we all have her to beat at the end of the day. We are going there confident that Ghaiyyath is in good order and we are looking forward to it.”
Challenging Ghaiyyath and Enable in the seven-runner field at Sandown Park are Aidan O’Brien pair, dual Group 1 winner Japan, and Magic Wand.
Mitsuru Hashida's Deirdre, Michael Stoute’s Regal Royalty and Andrew Balding’s Bangkok complete the line-up.
Japan was fourth behind Ghaiyyath in the Coronation Cup but prior to that had occupied the same spot in the Arc behind Enable and ahead of Ghaiyyath.
Elsewhere, across the channel in Chantilly, France, Godolphin are double-handed in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club, with French 2000 Guineas winner Victor Ludorum and San Fabrizio.
The Andre Fabre-trained Victor Ludorum steps up to an extended 10 furlongs for the French Derby as he bids for his sixth career win in seven starts.
“Victor Ludorum is in good form and I am very happy with his level of condition,” Fabre said. “I am confident the distance will not pose a problem. This race has long been the objective.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Raabiha carries the Emirates’ hopes in the Prix de Diane Longines that includes Jessica Harrington’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes winner Alpine Star and O’Brien’s Irish 1000 Guineas winner Peace and runner-up Fancy Blue.