Charlie Appleby is confident Ghaiyyath will make his presence felt in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
In the last 18 months the Newmarket handler has claimed a first Classic victory through Investec Derby hero Masar, and saddled the first British-trained winner in the history of the Melbourne Cup in Cross Counter.
And while he is under no illusions about the threat posed by the brilliant Enable in Paris – as she goes in search of a historic third Arc victory – Appleby feels he has a genuine chance of adding Europe’s premier middle-distance prize to his illustrious CV in a race shown live on Sky Sports Racing on Sunday.
He said: “His preparation has gone very well. He went on the gallops on Friday morning and I was very pleased with him – I think he’s in as good a shape as we can have him.
“We all obviously have a huge obstacle in front of us (Enable), but Ghaiyyath is a horse we have always held in high regard and I’m confident he’ll be in mix.”
Ghaiyyath only ran once last year, but made a flying start to the current campaign with a Group Two triumph in the Prix d’Harcourt in early April before returning to ParisLongchamp to finish third behind a fellow Arc contender in Andre Fabre’s Waldgeist in the Prix Ganay.
However, it was his last display which cemented his status as a genuine Arc contender as he and William Buick landed a Group One in Germany by 14 lengths.
The son of Dubawi is drawn widest of all in stall 12 on Sunday, but Appleby is unconcerned.
“I know the professionals have been questioning the form of the race in Germany, but you couldn’t be anything but impressed by the way he did it,” the trainer continued.
“There’s only 12 runners on Sunday and it’s soft ground, so I’m definitely not worried about the draw. William can look over his right shoulder and decide where he wants to be.
“It is a big challenge, but he’s definitely not out of place.”
Aidan O’Brien is double-handed as he bids to add to his previous Arc victories with Dylan Thomas (2007) and Found (2016).
Ryan Moore takes the ride on Japan, who has won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Grand Prix de Paris and the Juddmonte International at York on his last three starts.
“Everything has gone well with him since York and he seems to be in good form,” said O’Brien.
“He’s had six weeks since York and it was nice for him.
“I’d imagine he’d prefer nice ground, but he has form on easy ground. Hopefully it won’t be too soft.”
The trainer’s son Donnacha O’Brien is on board Magical, who has chased home Enable on several occasions, but enjoyed her day in the sun when landing last month’s Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
O’Brien senior added: “Obviously she only ran three weeks ago in Leopardstown, but everything has gone well with her since.
“She has form with ease in the ground and when she won in Ascot last year it was on the soft side.
“We’ve been delighted with her runs and last autumn she really improved.
“We couldn’t have been happier with her last run.”
Fabre has saddled a record seven Arc winners – but has not managed to add to his tally since Rail Link’s triumph in 2006.
Waldgeist has already had one crack at the great race, finishing just under two lengths behind Enable when fourth 12 months ago, and returns following a second win in the Prix Foy.
Fabre said: “There’s no master plan to beat Enable! Only to run as fast as he can.
“He was catching her in the King George during the summer (finished third), that was a good effort, but I don’t think that was Enable’s best race as she had a wide draw.
“There’s no disputing she’s the best in Europe.
“I’m happy with stall three for him and he’ll run well – he always does.”
The horse widely regarded as the chief hope for the home team is French Derby winner Sottsass, who bids to provide leading trainer Jean-Claude Rouget with his first Arc success.
The son of Siyouni overcame trouble in running to land the Prix Niel last month.
“With Sottsass we have another big chance – he does have the profile of a horse that could win this race,” Rouget told www.attheraces.com.
“We wanted to give him a good break after the Prix du Jockey Club, as it was run in great heat and he did break the track record, so we opted for the Prix Niel.
“He nearly did lose it because of the way the race panned out. He was blocked in, but that wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it was just as well, as he only made his effort in the final stage and he came back from that race in good form.
“I wouldn’t run him if I didn’t think he was good. If he wins it’s fabulous, if he is second or third, it’s still very good, if he is fourth or fifth, we will be a bit disappointed and so on. What else can I say? I will take the race as it comes.”