Ghaiyyath Crowned Longines World's Best Racehorse

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Ghaiyyath beats Magical, Lord North and Kameko in the Juddmonte International | racingfotos.com

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Godolphin's Ghaiyyath (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) was officially named Longines World's Best Racehorse on Tuesday having been assessed to have posted the top two performances of 2020. His high mark of 130 was gained in the G1 Juddmonte International S. at York, which was also named Longines World's Best Horserace for the first time. The former Charlie Appleby trainee also recorded a mark of 127 in the G1 Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup which, in a pandemic-disrupted season, was moved from Epsom to Newmarket.

Bred by the Weld family's Springbank Way Stud from the 2006 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Ghaiyyath won his first four starts in 2020, starting out with a facile victory in the G3 Dubai Millennium S. at Meydan in track record time. Returning to the UK, the 5-year-old beat the previous season's Derby winner Athony Van Dyck (Ire) in the Coronation Cup before claiming an even bigger scalp with his victory over Enable (GB) in the G1 Coral-Eclipse. His championship performance came with his three-length strike in the International, in which fellow Group 1 winners Magical (Ire), Lord North (Ire) and Kameko filled the minor places. Ghaiyyath has now retired to his owner Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum's Kildangan Stud in Ireland.

“In some ways he was the perfect racehorse; he had so many positive attributes,” said Joe Osborne, managing director of Godolphin Ireland. “He campaigned internationally and he was at that age to have reached his peak form. He was the kind of brand ambassador that Godolphin has been famous for down the years. His high cruising speed and his ability to find acceleration at the end of his races was what really set him apart.”

Charlie Appleby added, “It was a great privilege to be involved with a horse like Ghaiyyath. Right from the start he was one of the horses we were very find of and to train a horse like this for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and for Godolphin was a great honour.

“The most pleasing victory in 2020 was the Juddmonte International. I felt it just confirmed what we had seen in the Eclipse when he beat Enable.”

The ongoing Covid-19 restrictions meant that for the first time the awards, organised for the eighth year in tandem by Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), were presented in an online ceremony hosted by Francesca Cumani as Newmarket's National Horseracing Museum instead of in London.

A stellar season for the Bob Baffert-trained Authentic (Into Mischief) saw him win the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Haskell S. but it was his 2 1/4-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic which was judged to be his standout performance of the year on 126,. This placed him second overall in the rankings and made him the world's best 3-year-old and highest-rated dirt horse.

Authentic is now at stud at Spendthrift Farm, which comprised one part of his large syndicate of owners during his racing days. The group included Myracehorse Stable, with members in every state in America and from more than 20 countries around the world.

“I used to love looking forward to making that trip to London even though it was always freezing,” said Baffert via video link from his home in California. The trainer was also responsible for Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup Classic winner American Pharoah, who was the Longines World's Best Racehorse of 2015, as well as Arrogate, the world's top-rated horse of 2016 and 2017.

He continued, “Authentic was just getting better and better and better. He had a lot of speed and he could carry a mile and a quarter effortlessly. It takes a really good horse to win the Derby and the Breeders' Cup Classic. Is it's just an honour to be involved in this. Racing is all about bragging rights so to have a horse as good as this is what it's all about.”

There was a seven-way tie for third between horses trained in Britain, France, America and Australia on a ranking of 125. Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) won three Group 1 races in two different hemispheres for the William Haggas stable in 2020 but it was his season-closing victory in the QIPCO British Champion S. for which he gained top marks, alongside fellow Newmarket resident Palace Pier (GB) (Kingman {GB}). The latter was the top-rated European 3-year-old, gaining his mark for his run in the G1 Prix du Haras Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville. Juddmonte's Kingman is also the sire of Persian King (Ire), ranked equal to Palace Pier on 125 after winning the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, while Palace Pier's stablemate Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) is again the top stayer in the world having run to 125 when winning the G1 Gold Cup for the third time at Royal Ascot.

The Barclay Tagg-trained Tiz The Law (Constitution) was also awarded 125 for his GI Runhappy Travers S. victory, and  that mark was also achieved by Australian sprinters Bivouac (Aus) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) and Classique Legend (Aus) (Not A Single Doubt {Aus}) in the G1 Darley Sprint Classic and The TAB Everest respectively. 

Japan's recently retired Horse of the Year Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), trained by Sakae Kunieda, was judged to have run to a mark of 124 on two occasions, when winning the GI Victoria Mile and GI Longines Japan Cup for the second time. That same mark was awarded to her compatriot, the Triple Crown winner Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), whose first taste of defeat came when finishing runner-up to Almond Eye in the Japan Cup.

Also in equal-tenth place on 124 was Hong Kong star Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro), now the winner of 15 of his 16 races and gaining his top mark in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile. The impressive victory of Mohaather (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) in the G1 Qatar Sussex S. and of Nature Strip (Aus) (Nicconi {Aus}) in the G1 TJ Smith S. also gained marks of 124.

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) headed a quintet in joint-15th place on 123.  They included Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's crack sprinter Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), G1 Prince of Wales's S.winner Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), and the Japanese duo of GI Tenno Sho runner-up Fierement (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Glory Vase (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Improbable (City Zip) was another to reach 123, a mark he gained twice, in the GI Whitney S. and GI Awesome Again S.

The best performance of 2020 for Juddmonte superstar Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) was her record third victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S, for which she was awarded a mark of 122. This same rating was given to Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) for her victories in the Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks, as well as 2000 Guineas winner Kameko (Kitten's Joy) for his G2 Shadwell Joel S. success, and to the previous season's European champion 2-year-old Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal). Also on 122 were Maximum Security (New Year's Day), Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road To Rock {Aus}), Gamine (Into Mischief), In Swoop (Ire) (Adlerflug {Ger}), Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal), Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) and Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike).

Of the 56 horses in the world with a rating of 120 or more in 2020, 14 were trained in Britain, 11 in America, 10 in Ireland, and seven in Japan, while France, Australia and Hong Kong accounted for four apiece, and two were trained in South Africa.

Frankel (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), who was the Longines World's Best Racehorse of 2011 and 2012, achieved the highest-ever rating of 140.

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