Ghaiyyath took his brilliant winning run to three Group Ones this season by repelling all challengers in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
Charlie Appleby’s front-runner led throughout once again as he saw off a top-class five-strong field to win by three lengths as the 11-8 favourite, under William Buick.
Ghaiyyath predictably had to contend with the close attendance of outsider Rose Of Kildare in the early stages – and once that hazard was out of the way, he was harried into the final two furlongs by 2000 Guineas winner Kameko and multiple Group One heroine Magical.
But none ever closed within two lengths as Appleby’s five-year-old added this success to his Coronation Cup and Coral-Eclipse victories in the past two months.
Magical took second spot, with Lord North eventually staying on past Kameko into third.
Appleby said: “I’m delighted with that. It was straightforward, a great performance and a great front-running ride by William.
“Most importantly, it’s important for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the team to have a horse like this on our hands.
“He’s not let us down this year and as I said right at the start of the year, he’s more the finished article now. I’m just delighted for the whole team.
“We were coming into today and his prep had been faultless. We knew he was the finished article.
“We had our plan – the Coronation, miss Ascot and go for the Eclipse before coming here. As we all know plans don’t always work out, but he’s been exceptional every start this year.
“I’ve said before that last year he took time to get over races as he put so much in, but right from the get-go we weren’t seeing those dips this year.
“It’s a great credit to the team at home and talking to His Highness, horses like him are what Godolphin is all about. To have him deliver on each occasion is fantastic for everybody.”
Appleby continued: “He didn’t go a scorching pace, just an honest one. William said turning into the straight that it was unusual as normally on him you can’t here the whips cracking, but he could hear them coming.
“So, he gave him a squeeze and he just took off again. Once he hits that second gear a furlong and a half out, he’s just relentless – he might not quicken after that but he’s an exceptional galloper.
“He doesn’t have to lead, we just let him come into the race as he sees fit.
“In the Arc (last year) it was soft ground, off the back of a big performance in Germany and because of his draw we made him go forward, this year we’re letting him do it himself.”
As for another crack at the Arc, Appleby added: “The option is there, but we’ve seen in his last two races how good he is over 10 furlongs.
“The option is there and we’ll all have a chat, it’s great to talk about options for a horse of this calibre. There’s the Irish Champion, the Arc, the Breeders’ Cup and Japan as well, so there are plenty of options.”
Appleby also refused to rule out Ghaiyyath remaining in training at six, saying: “Sheikh Mohammed has left some of his best horses in training at six, they are lovely conversations to have and I’m sure we’ll spend plenty of time talking about the future.”
Buick said: “This horse can do all the things most horses can’t. He has an amazing high cruising speed we’ve seen many times from him, and he manages to see his races off as well.
“It was an amazing performance again.
“It all went how I wanted it to. He was happy all the way throughout and it was a smooth performance.
“We’ll see about the Arc. Obviously His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Charlie will speak and do whatever is best for the horse.
“He’s the best middle-distance horse I’ve ridden.”
John Gosden felt the ground perhaps did not totally suit third-placed Lord North.
He said: “He found the ground a little loose – James (Doyle) said when he asked him to quicken he was spinning his wheels a little. It is a little loose out there with the rain on it.
“He’s finished off well to be third and we’re delighted.
“The winner is great – if you let him bowl in front you’ll never see him again.
“We’ll look at the Irish Champion Stakes next with our horse.”
Andrew Balding is now planning to drop back to a mile with Kameko, but will also be seeking faster ground.
He said: “It looked like he didn’t stay. Oisin (Murphy) felt he travelled into the race really well and just didn’t see it out.
“We’ll go back to a mile. We’ve got limited options because he wouldn’t want the ground too soft, so we’ll just have to see.”