There was no fairytale return for wondermare Enable as she could only manage second behind Ghaiyyath in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Sunday.
However, her trainer John Gosden reported before the Group 1 that the six-year-old mare would need the race as connections look for a third victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the end of this month.
Ghaiyyath, who had demolished the opposition in last month’s rescheduled Coronation Cup at Newmarket, took his customary lead from the front. While he didn’t pull away at the front as we have seen in his previous races, Ghaiyyath held the advantage turning for home.
Urged on by jockey William Buick, the five-year-old quickened three furlongs from home and it was clear that both Enable and Japan were not going to be able to catch the son of Dubawi.
In the end, Ghaiyyath recorded a two and a quarter length victory over Enable with a head back to Japan in third.
It was a fitting winner on Charlie Appleby’s 45th birthday and the trainer said: “I’m delighted and congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the team at Godolphin. He’s a horse we’ve held in the highest esteem and he’s delivered again. It was a fantastic ride by William.
“I wondered, when they came to him in the straight, how much he’d done early, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and was never going to lie down.
“We just want to enjoy today. It’s a great effort and it was a great run from Enable too; it was a great race for everybody to watch.”
Buick added: “Last year was in and out for him. He had some fantastic performances and some disappointments due to circumstances. That was a great performance and from a rider’s point of view he’s becoming more manageable and grown up. He’s an amazing horse to ride.”
Mishriff delivers for Gosden in Prix du Jockey Club
Earlier on Sunday, the John Gosden-trained Mishriff stormed to victory in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly under Ioritz Mendizabal.
Prince Faisal’s homebred son of Ballylinch Stud resident Make Believe looked as if his chances of securing the race were slim when trapped behind a bunch of horses one and a half furlongs from the finish.
However, Mendizabal managed to manoeuvre his charge to the outside of the field and from there, the three-year-old showed an abundance of stamina to stay on to win by one and three-quarter lengths from The Summit in second. French 2,000 Guineas winner Victor Ludorum could manage only third.
Gosden said: “The jockey rode him exactly like we discussed this morning. We wanted to sit handy to the pace and wait for the split. Chantilly is not the easiest track to ride and you get a lot of strange races there as they steady it up around the bend and you can’t change your position.
“He’s got a good attitude and I thought his last 100 metres were his best of the whole race. The owner-breeder Prince Faisal was very keen to go for the Prix du Jockey Club and he’s been proved correct.”
The Prix de Diane that followed the Prix du Jockey Club saw young trainer Donnacha O’Brien register a first Group 1 success as a trainer when Fancy Blue gamely held off the persistent Alpine Star.
It is only the fourth win of O’Brien’s training career and the trainer said: “She’s a very good filly and Pierre [Charles-Boudot] gave her a great ride. I’m very lucky to have her and am very lucky to have the people around me, so it’s great to repay their faith.
“We used the Irish Guineas as a prep for one of the Oaks. We weren’t sure where we wanted to go, but she finished that race well, so the obvious step was to go up in trip and there was great prize-money in France – and we got to avoid Love, so this was the obvious target and thankfully it worked out.
“We’ll look forward to the rest of the season with her. We’ll bring her home, speak to the owners and then make a plan. She seemed to handle the travelling well today so the Arc is not impossible.”