'Exciting' Ghaiyyath goes for more glory at the Dubai World Cup
Trainer Appleby hopes Millennium Stakes winner can help team beat last year's winning total at Meydan
Charlie Appleby is aiming for an even bigger winner's haul than last year at the upcoming silver jubilee meeting of the Dubai World Cup.
The Godolphin trainer, who enjoyed his best ever meeting 12 months ago by scooping three prizes, has seven potential runners set for Meydan on March 28, aimed at four of the eight thoroughbred prizes this time round.
Ghaiyyath and Barney Roy appear to be his solid chances in the Dubai Sheema Classic and Dubai Turf, respectively, both Group 1 prizes with prize funds of $6million (Dh22m) apiece.
The former is the highest-rated horse at 126, training in Dubai this season, and heads into the race after sealing an impressive eight and-a-half lengths victory over stablemate Spotify in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes five weeks ago.
The Roger Varian-trained Defoe, the 2019 Coronation Cup winner, in the silks Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, is second highest rated in the race at 122.
“Ghaiyyath obviously had a very impressive victory there in the Dubai Millennium,” Appleby said. “Mentally, he looked in a good place and subsequently came out not losing anywhere near the weight he has in the past.
“He never gives himself an easy race because of his [forward] running style, so as easy as he wins with these big margins, he doesn’t help himself.
“In the [Dubai Millennium] he lost 4kgs and has obviously put that back on in a couple days. His preparation so far has been faultless and I’m confident he’s going to be there in as good or better condition.
“Hopefully a bit better than we last saw him in his last start. He’s an exciting horse and always has been and we’re looking forward to it all going ahead.”
If Ghaiyyath is successful, it will give the Godolphin-Appleby and jockey William Buick team its third consecutive win in the race following the victories of Hawkbill in 2018 and Old Persian last year.
“Compared to Hawkbill and Old Persian, Hawkbill was a very talented three-year-old when winning the [Group 1] Eclipse [Stakes] and went into the Sheema with some solid form there,” he said. “Character-wise, Hawkbill was a bit strong, himself, but on his day, he was a very talented horse.
“With respects to Old Persian and out of the three of them, I would have put him as the ‘C’ on bare form and what they’ve achieved in their careers and Ghaiyyath would be the ‘A’ of the three.
“He’s a Group winner at two, three and Group 1 winner at four and in very emphatic style. On bare form going into the Sheema, he’s the classiest of the three.”
Barney Roy has had a revival this season, winning both the Group 2 Al Rashidiya and Jebel Hatta under Buick.
The son of Excelebration flew past Magic Lily – herself a dual Group 2 winner during this DWC Carnival – in the latter, stamping himself as the chief threat to Japan’s Dubai Turf defending champion Almond Eye.
“Barney Roy has come out of his race very well,” Appleby said. “He’s really in tip-top order, which is good. Magic Lily is doing very well out of the Jebel Hatta and will also go in there, all being well.”
Glorious Journey, in the silks of Sheikha Al Jalila Racing, and Godolphin’s Mubtasim meet for a third consecutive race this year, having finished first and third in the Al Fahidi Fort on January 23 at Meydan and then second and third in the 1,351m Turf Sprint in the Saudi Cup meeting in Riyadh on February 29.
“Both Mubtasim and Glorious Journey came back from Saudi well,” Appleby said of his two entries in the 1,200m Al Quoz Sprint.
“Mubtasim is what he is. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is a forward-going horse. Dropping back to the six will be on the sharp side for him, but he’s a very genuine horse on the back of that last start deserves to have a crack at it.
“Glorious Journey ran well, considering the draw, which he was always going to struggle from in Saudi.
“He does his best work late on. He has ran over this trip and ran creditably. He ran well in the July Cup and showed plenty enough boot to be able to lay up.
“If anything, in hindsight, we have changed his running style and know he’s better off being a hold-up horse and we’re looking forward to seeing him drop back to six [furlongs] again. With his A-game, he could be a player.”
Cross Counter and Ispolini will attempt to carry the Godolphin blue to a one-two finish for the second consecutive year in the Dubai Gold Cup.
“Cross Counter, as you know, is heading to the Gold Cup again,” Appleby said. “He’s come back from Saudi well and definitely come forward for that run.
“Ispolini will go in there first up, all being well. His homework has been very good.
“He’s a horse we know we can get fit first up, so we have two live contenders there. As we stand, William will ride Cross Counter and James [Doyle] will ride Ispolini.”
Updated: March 21, 2020 03:06 PM