Ghaiyyath earns world-best mark after International domination
Ghaiyyath can be declared the best horse in the world after his relentless performance in last week's Juddmonte International at York earned him a new career-high figure on Racing Post Ratings, and with the BHA's lead handicapper.
The Godolphin ace's front-running win on the Knavesmire, his third consecutive Group 1 victory this season, generated a Racing Post Rating of 131, the joint-second best figure since the start of 2015 alongside Cracksman and just a pound shy of Golden Horn's best in the 2015 Coral-Eclipse.
The BHA's head of handicapping Dominic Gardiner-Hill was also suitably impressed, allotting Ghaiyyath a mark of 130, the equal of Golden Horn and Cracksman, and pointing out that he is “now responsible for the two best performances in the world this year”, and noting that “his new mark has been bettered in that race this century by only seven-length winners Frankel (140) and Sakhee (133)”.
Trainer Charlie Appleby has yet to formally confirm Ghaiyyath's autumn plans, with the five-year-old a general 6-1 third-favourite behind Love and Enable for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, and a 5-2 shot for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot later that same month.
However, when Ghaiyyath finished a modest third on his debut at Doncaster three years ago it would have been impossible to predict that he would now be widely recognised as the best turf horse in the world, yet that is the case following last week’s demolition of a top-quality field at York.
On that first day at school, commentator Mike Cattermole noted him “pulling quite hard” early on and then “beginning to get the message” approaching the furlong marker, but by then Blue Laureate, nowadays a 93-rated stayer, was away and gone, and runner-up Sha La La La Lee was not stopping either.
Ghaiyyath’s determination to get on with things, evident on his debut under James Doyle at Doncaster in the way he fought for his head, turned out to be a plus, although Charlie Appleby wasted no time in applying a hood in order to make it more manageable.
He took a giant step forward when a five-length winner of a Newmarket maiden in a hood next time, and ended his first season with a Group 3 win there under now regular rider William Buick in the Autumn Stakes.
Ghaiyyath was then off the track for 11 months, making his debut as a three-year-old when landing the Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange at Longchamp, and then proved himself better than ever at four with a heavily eased win in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt, and a 14-length Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden romp which thrust him to the fore in the betting for the 2019 Arc.
It is ancient history now that he failed to perform at Longchamp that day, but Baden-Baden had shown us what a monster he can be. We perhaps should not be surprised then by such spectacular achievements this year as a mature five-year-old, when his victims in three far deeper Group 1s read like a who’s who of international turf racing, most notable among them of course Enable and Magical, both of whom received a sex allowance.
While connections agonise between the Arc, a race Golden Horn won so memorably, and the Champion Stakes, which Cracksman made his own, at least one thing is certain – Ghaiyyath is plenty good enough to win either race in a normal year.
But what’s it to be Charlie? We are all dying to know.
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