Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath aiming for fourth Group 1 win on the trot in Irish Champion Stakes

The world’s best-rated thoroughbred is good to go for Leopardstown race

Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath heads to the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday bidding for a fourth successive Group 1 prize this year.

Charlie Appleby, his handler, has given the world’s best-rated thoroughbred his thumbs up following his workout on Wednesday before confirming his entry for the 10-furlong race

“It was a routine piece of work to check his well-being, and he has come through it without a worry,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“It was not strong work, more a breeze, which is normal procedure three days before a race. He’s telling us that he’s ready now for another big race.

“We are really looking forward to the weekend. He travels to Ireland at the peak of his career, unbeaten in four starts this year, three of them Group 1s, two of which were officially rated the best performances globally in 2020.

Ghaiyyath faces five rivals that include Aidan O’Brien’s trio Magical, Japan and Amory.

Magical won the Champions Stakes last year but she got beat by Ghayyath by three lengths in the Juddmonte International at York on August 19.

Jessica Harington’s Leo De Fury and Jean-Claude Rouget’s Sotass, a dual Group 1 winner in France, complete the field.

“Ghaiyyath is now a five-year-old, and by any standards, he is lightly-raced,” Appleby added.

“He has run only 12 times, winning nine and placing twice. This is his fourth season in training, and I believe what we are now seeing is an outstanding racehorse at the top of his game.

“He’s going to Leopardstown in as good a condition as we have ever had him. I’m as pleased with him as I was before the Juddmonte International, where I thought he was very professional in the manner he went about everything.

“He showed his maturity. With every race this year, I think he has got better. From Newmarket, where he broke the course record for one and a half miles, galloping from end to end, to Sandown, where he beat Enable ... to York, where his brilliance shone through.”

Appleby described Ghaiyyath as a wonderful Godolphin story. “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai) has followed the progress of Ghaiyyath very closely from the time he was purchased as a foal five years ago,” he said.

“It is pleasing to see a descendant of Godolphin greats Dubai Millennium and Dubawi also making his mark at the highest level.”

William Buick who has been in the saddled in all but Ghaiyyath's first two starts is confirmed to ride him following a few anxious weeks.

A new jockey may have been required for Ghaiyyath if he was to travel to Ireland as the Government regulations demanded a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors.

However, Buick has been granted special consideration for ‘elite sportsmen,’ which covers visiting jockeys riding in Group 1s.

“William knows him so well, they are a great combination,” Appleby said. “He’s ridden him in all bar two of his runs, and he loves the horse. Like all of us, William has always held him in the highest regard.”

Godolphin’s Barney Roy, an original entry for the Irish Champion Stakes, has been rerouted to Germany to contest Sunday’s Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden, a prize Ghaiyyath won by 14 lengths last year.

Updated: September 11, 2020 12:04 PM

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