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A top-quality field for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown saw Ghaiyyath (9/4) take the spoils for trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick at the expense of Enable (1/1f).
Ghaiyyath, who was dropping back in distance after setting a new 12-furlong track record at Newmarket in the rearranged Group 1 Coronation Cup last month, took his customary lead in the race, galloping on remorselessly, and was never headed in the Sandown Park feature to win his second successive Group One.
John Gosden’s star mare, Enable, having her seasonal debut, was two and a quarter lengths back in second, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair, Japan and Magic Wand, filling third and fourth places respectively.
Winning jockey William Buick said of his front-running partner Ghaiyyath:
“He’s got a high cruising speed and he knows how to use it. He’s a horse that you go with what he wants to do. He’s not a horse who wants to be controlled, you’re best sitting against him and letting him use his big stride and then go when he’s ready. He’s a joy to ride and he’s a very good horse. As a five-year-old he’s mature physically and mentally – he’s becoming the finished article.”
Charlie Appleby agreed with Buick about the quality of Ghaiyyath, admitting:
“I felt he gained a lot of respect after the Coronation Cup as a lot of people hadn’t seen him do that. He’d been an emphatic winner in France, Germany and out in Dubai this winter, but for the British public to see his Coronation win I think he gained a lot of fans and support. He’s the finished article now. This was a success this horse is entitled to have based on what we’ve seen in the past. I’m very pleased for him.”
Enable, who had been off the track since her second place in last year’s Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, a defeat which ended her 12-race winning streak, 10 of the wins having come at Group 1 level, delighted her trainer John Gosden today, despite the defeat:
“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. (But) she has put in a perfect performance and has come with a lovely run. I’m delighted with the way she came there. 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.”
The Ryan Moore-ridden Japan was a head behind Enable, while another Ballydoyle inmate, Magic Wand, winner of the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes in Australia last November before finishing second in both the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup and Pegasus Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park in the USA, was a length and a half behind her stable companion in fourth.