Sensational Dubai debut for Ghaiyyath
Godolphin's highly-rated Ghaiyyath made a sensational Dubai debut, while trainers Charlie Appleby and Doug Watson recorded doubles in the eighth horse race meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday night.
Ghaiyyath, the five-year-old son of Dubawi, showed why he was rated 126, towering over the rest of the field to land the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at the Meydan Racecourse.
Ghaiyyath, the son of two Irish classic winners, led from start to finish, under jockey William Buick, to win the 10-furlong affair by a whopping 8.5 lengths over last year's winner Spotify.
It was a one-two for Appleby as Spotify was a distant second under James Doyle.
Appleby partnered Doyle to then saddle Zakouski to victory in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile, run over eight furlongs. And it was a one-two yet again for Appleby as Mythical Magic was a neck behind in second, under Buick.
The twin victories swelled Appelby's tally to 14 in the Carnival standings for trainers, while Buick took his to eight in the jockeys' championship. Godolphin, meanwhile, are way ahead at the top with 21 winners.
And Appleby liked what he saw from Ghaiyyath. "I'm delighted. We've all seen what this horse can do, especially coming up his first start, there," gushed Appleby.
"The reason we've come here instead of going down the classic Sheema Classic route of running in the Group 3 Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday on March 7, is that this gives us two more weeks. The plan was to just let him float into (the race) from his outside post and once he was on the lead, we would let him roll along. We've seen on numerous occasions what he can do when he's left to his own devices like that. Hopefully now, with a run under his belt, we can just ease off on him and let him float into World Cup night and have a crack at the Sheema Classic," added the Englishman.
Buick, meanwhile, said Ghaiyyath now gets a well deserved rest ahead of the Dubai World Cup.
"He's a very energetic horse and was a little bit fresh today. He puts a lot into everything he does. It was an exercise where we hoped to produce and he did it well. He's a hugely talented horse and like Charlie mentioned, he's going to get a nice rest until World Cup night now," said Buick.
Watson, meanwhile, saddled Waady and Midnight Sands to victory in the Group 2 Meydan Sprint and the Range Rover Velar Handicap respectively.
Elsewhere, UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea piloted Jamie Osborne's Cliffs Of Capri to win by a head over Moqtarreb in the Jaguar XE (Div 1) Handicap.
Emirati handler Salem bin Ghadayer oversaw Down On Da Bayou's win in the Group 3 UAE Oaks, while in the last race of the night, Epic Hero won the Jaguar F Pace (Div 2) Handicap.
The ninth race meeting of the Carnival takes place next Thursday.