News and STORIES

Ghaiyyath Set for Dubai Millennium

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Thursday February 20, 2020
Godolphin's Ghaiyyath is set to make his season debut in the 2,000-meter (1 1/4-mile) Dubai Millennium Sponsored by Jaguar Group (G3). The top-rated horse, trained in Dubai, will break from the outside post in a field of six under William Buick. 

Ghaiyyath, a son of two classic winners, has not raced since finishing unplaced in the Qatar Prix de I'Arc de Triomphe (G1). Before that, he took a 14-length victory in the German Longines Grosser Preis von Baden (G1). If he can perform like that again, he will be the best among the others. 

Ghaiyyath's conditioner, Charlie Appleby, won three of the last four renewals. He has said that the main goal is the $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in five weeks. 

"He's the highest-rated horse in the race, and we know he predominately runs well fresh, so that's why we are working backward from the Sheema Classic," Appleby said. "That's why I have come a couple weeks forward, rather than the usual trial route in the (group 2 Dubai) City of Gold (March 7). I thought this was timing-wise better for him.

"Preparation has gone well. He looks well, and he's fresh, so we expect a good run out of him on Thursday. Again, the target is the Sheema, so he's not fully wound up by any stretch of the imagination. 

"He's fit enough to come out and run. If he turns up (victorious) there, he's the class horse in the race, anyway. Whatever he does, hopefully, we have the improvement there for the Sheema Classic."

Desert Encounter and Royal Meeting 

Ghaiyyath is just one of the three grade/group 1 winners in the race. The two others who are also running are Desert Encounter, trained by David Simcock, and Saeed bin Suroor-conditioned Royal Meeting. 

The race is important for the former, but he did win four consecutive races to close out 2019. Those included a second Pattison Canadian International (G1T) at Woodbine over 1 1/2 miles. He also scored a tally over the same distance in group 3 company. 

Royal Meeting has not raced beyond 1,600 meters (one mile), and his stamina will be tested in the Dubai Millennium.

Jim Crowley will be the jockey for the former from post 5, and Pat Cosgrave will have the latter from the rail. 

Others Running

Certain Lad, who tied the course record for the Dubai Millennium distance two races ago, is ready to go for trainer Mick Channon. Ben Curtis will be the jockey. 

Defending race winner Spotify will face a tougher field this year for Appleby. He will once again be saddled by James Doyle, and they will break from post 2. 

Norsky Derby winner Privilegiado, who has won six of 11 for Niels Peterson, will have a new rider in Dane O'Neill. He performed disappointingly two weeks ago over 1,800 meters, but he should perform better on the extra ground. 

Some of the past winners of the Dubai Millennium include Zarak and Hunter's Light, who set the course record in 2015 at 2:00.67. Both of the horses received a rating of 116 going into their races, and they were the highest-rated horses to run in the race until this year's edition. 

Ghaiyyath's rating sits at 126, making him one of the top-rated horses in the world.