World’s highest-rated horse, Ghaiyyath, is retired

October 20, 2020

By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Ghaiyyath, the world’s highest-rated racehorse at 130, is to retire after exhibiting muscle soreness.

The four-time Group 1 winner will stand at Sheikh Mohammed’s Kildangan Stud in County Kildare, Ireland, in 2021.

Bred by the Weld family, one of Ireland’s foremost horse racing families, at their Springbank Way Stud, the son of Darley stallion Dubawi, is out of a Galileo mare, the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime.

Bought at the Goffs November Foal Sales in 2015, he cost Godolphin €1.1 million and was sent to Charlie Appleby in Newmarket, England, to train.

Ghaiyyath’s pedigree page was enhanced soon after his purchase when his half-sister Zhukova, by Fastnet Rock, won two Group 3 races in Ireland for former Belmont Stakes-winning handler Dermot Weld. The Curragh-based trainer took Zhukova to the USA where she won the Grade 1 Man O’ War Stakes at Belmont Park, New York. Godolphin then bought the filly for 3.7-million guineas at Tattersalls December Sale in 2017.

Ghaiyyath broke his maiden on his second start as a two-year-old before winning the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket that season.

The son of Dubawi raced only once in his three-year-old season, taking the Group 3 Prix du Prince d’Orange at ParisLongchamp, France.

Seemingly progressing with age, he claimed the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt at ParisLongchamp, before taking victory in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden-Baden Racecourse as a four-year-old.

His impressive 14-length success in Germany prompted connections to run him in the 2019 Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp. In unfavourable soft ground conditions, the Irish-bred colt couldn’t maintain his powerful front-running style in the home stretch, eventually fading back into tenth place in the 1m 4 furlong contest.

Ghaiyyath began his five-year-old, and now final, season, by winning the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan, United Arab Emirates, last February.

This season, the Charlie Appleby-trained colt has won the Group Coronation Cup (1m4f), beating the 2019 Investec Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck, the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse (1m2f), where he defeated the recently-retired super mare Enable, and the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes (1m2.5f), finishing ahead of 7-time Group 1 winner Magical.

The latter soon got her revenge on Ghaiyyath, as he finished second to her in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes (1m2f) at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin, Ireland, in September, in what turned out to be his final race.

In his preparation for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland, the Godolphin-owned bay star was showing signs of soreness behind. On investigation, he was was found to be muscle sore, and the decision was taken to retire him.

“Ghaiyyath has had a fantastic career winning nine of his 13 races,” Appleby said. “His high-class cruising speed and relentless style of galloping was a joy to watch. It is obviously disappointing not to be taking him to the Breeders’ Cup but the exertions of a long season, which started in Dubai in January, were starting to show and the decision has been made to retire him.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Godolphin

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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