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Champions Series Dark Horses for 2018: Ghaiyyath

19 Mar 2018

In the fifth of our weekly series we consider the Godolphin-owned colt who looks an Investec Derby contender

The Cheltenham Festival has come and gone but the return of the Flat season is gathering momentum and on Saturday the Lincoln will be staged at Doncaster.

Once that famous mile handicap is done and dusted, the Classic trials will swiftly follow . . . and there are only 79 days before the Investec Derby!

Horse: GHAIYYATH

Form: 311

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Sheikh Mohammed founded Godolphin in 1992 and has since seen his operation’s famous blue colours carried to big-race glory all over the world.

However, a win for the blues in the greatest race of them all, the Investec Derby, has proved elusive.

There have been near-misses, hard-luck stories and crushing disappointments along the way.

Dubai Millennium, perhaps the greatest horse Sheikh Mohammed has owned, started favourite in 1999 but trailed home ninth after being betrayed by a lack of stamina. In 2013, runaway 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach went off 5-4 favourite but trailed home a distant last.

Last year, Benbatl, Best Solution and Dubai Thunder all represented him in the premier Classic but the closest any of the trio could manage was fifth.

Is Ghaiyyath the colt to end all the years of hurt?

A son of Dubawi, third for Godolphin the 2005 Derby, Ghaiyyath was purchased for €1,100,000 as a youngster and there must have been some long faces in his camp when he was beaten on his debut at Doncaster in mid-September after going off 6-5 favourite.

However, he was betrayed by a lack of experience on that occasion and it was a different story 13 days later in another mile maiden at Newmarket when, equipped with a hood, he made all and routed 15 rivals by five lengths and upwards.

The following month he was fast-tracked into Group 3 company at Headquarters and, held up this time, came through powerfully to win what looked a strong renewal of the Autumn Stakes in convincing fashion.

A handsome colt with plenty of physical scope, Ghaiyyath is a general 25-1 for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 6 but Charlie Appleby, his trainer, has already indicated that the Derby, on June 2, is the main objective.

Ghaiyyath’s looks, galloping style, form and breeding – he is a half-brother to classy 12f performer Zhukova – offer encouragement for Epsom. Most firms quote him at 25-1.