Ghaiyyath inflicted a rare defeat on the brilliant Enable, taking the great mare’s Coral-Eclipse crown at Sandown.
Charlie Appleby’s front-runner led after the first furlong and was never headed as he added his second successive Group One following last month’s success in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket.
Enable, having her first run of the campaign and absent since finishing second in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was held up off the pace by Frankie Dettori and could never get to the winner, eventually finishing a two-and a-quarter-length second.
Ghaiyyath and William Buick galloped on remorselessly, as they had at Newmarket, to win at 9-4 from John Gosden’s even-money favourite.
Buick said: “He’s got a huge cruising speed and he knows how to use it. He had won over a mile and a quarter, at Group Two level, but it was his first go over a mile and a quarter in a Group One and he was in a nice rhythm the whole way.
“Charlie had him in great shape. We were obviously concerned about Enable coming into the race, but it was her first run of the season and I’m sure she’ll improve from the race.
“As a horse, you go with what Ghaiyyath wants to do – he’s not a horse who likes to be controlled. You just sit against him, let him use his huge stride and go when he’s ready.
“He’s a joy to ride and a very, very good horse. As a five-year-old he’s mature physically and mentally – he’s becoming the finished article.
“I think a mile and a quarter will be his optimum trip – he’s very fast. Sometimes when you ride him over a mile and a half you’re always worried the last furlong is going to be a long one, but he keeps going.
“He’s obviously very effective over both distances.”
Appleby – celebrating his 45th birthday – said: “I’m delighted, first and foremost for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin.
“He’s a horse we’ve always held in high regard and we’ve seen the performances he can put up. Obviously he’d been an emphatic winner in France and in Germany and out in Dubai, but I think the Coronation Cup win gained him a lot of fans and support.
“We were never concerned about dropping him back to the 10 furlongs today. He’s got loads of pace and statistically this track suits front runners.
“We had immense respect for Enable, who I felt lost nothing in defeat – it was a great battle up the straight.”
He added: “This year he seems to be taking his races better. We toyed with the idea of going for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes after the Coronation Cup, but we thought we’d give ourselves an extra couple of weeks and we know this track can favour a front runner.
“The Juddmonte International at York would be up there (as a target). He’s shown his versatility now, winning over 10 and 12 furlongs.
“You don’t beat Enable having an easy run, so we’ll see where we are over the next week and then decide whether we head to York or whether he needs a bit more time.
“There’s plenty of racing coming up over the autumn, so I don’t think we need to be making any rash decisions – there are plenty of options out there.”
On a potential rematch with Enable in the Arc, Appleby said: “I’d rather not have to take her on!
“Last year we felt he was a potential Arc horse. Unfortunately the ground went very soft, it was a very strongly-run race and it paid in the end.
“Our plan was always to work back from another crack at the Arc. If Enable is in it, we’ll just have to take her on again.
“We’re delighted with today’s success – I’m very pleased for the horse.”
Despite the defeat, Gosden was understandably thrilled with the effort of Enable.
He said: “I’m delighted with her. She ran a gorgeous race. We know Ghaiyyath and as I warned everybody it is a great front-runners track, Sandown. If he gets free on the front, as he is a fabulous horse, you are never going to get to him. We found that out in the Coronation.
“She has put in a perfect performance and has come with a lovely run. I’m delighted with the way she came there. Frankie said the last half a furlong she just needed it, so he looked after her. It is the perfect platform we were looking for for the King George (Ascot, July 25). We were very happy.
“She enjoyed it and her zest and desire is there, but trying to get involved with a front-running horse like him was never going to be her deal. I think I did warn everybody about that left, right and centre.
“She is an older mare now and it has taken a great deal more to get her to this point, but she has run a beautiful race and I couldn’t be more thrilled with her. We knew coming we were 85 per cent and you are not going to beat a front-running horse like that around here.
“She has run the most perfect race to point towards the King George.”