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Ghaiyyath holds off Enable in Famous Eclipse Victory

Two modern-day heavyweights produce arguably race of the season in the Coral Eclipse.

Ghaiyyath wins the Eclipse

Appleby and Buick combine to snatch Enable’s Eclipse Crown and Sandown.

It was arguably the race of the season as rising star of the Turf Ghaiyyath faced off against one of the modern greats in Enable to record a famous victory in the Coral-Eclipse on Sunday.

Charlie Appleby’s front-runner led after the first furlong and never looked like being beat, going on to claim the famous Eclipse crown, making it successive Group One wins following last months Coronation Cup victory at Newmarket.

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John Gosden’s charge Enable was having her first run of her campaign as the stable looks to prepare the six-year-old for a third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe later in the season.

With Frankie Dettori on board, Enable didn’t quite handle the going pace, unable to reach Ghaiyyath, finishing second by two-and a-quarter-lengths.

William Buick had Ghaiyyath purring as he did at Newmarket, showing why the bookies had the five-year-old even money favourite ahead of the jump.

“He’s got a huge cruising speed and he knows how to use it,” Buick said.

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“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.”

It was an emphatic birthday victory for Appleby, who turned 45 on Sunday.

“I’m delighted, first and foremost for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin,” Appleby said of the win.

“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.”

Appleby had nothing but praise for the way his charge has so far handled his five-year-old season.

“This year he seems to be taking his races better,” he said.

“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.”

While Appleby was delighted with the win against one of the modern day giants of horse racing, he was still apprehensive about another showdown against Enable in the Arc.

“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.”

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