Ghaiyyath, the No. 1-ranked turf horse in the world, retired from racing Monday after his connections discovered muscle soreness in his legs after a routine workout.
Godolphin, the international racing conglomerate that owns Ghaiyyath, announced the retirement in a statement. The sudden retirement means Ghaiyyath won’t run next month’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, where he was the 2/1 favorite.
Instead, Ghaiyyath heads to Darley’s Kildangan Stud Farm, where he’ll begin his stud career next year.
This closes the door on Ghaiyyath’s remarkable career — one producing four Group 1 victories among his nine wins. Three of those came this year, during his 4-year-old campaign – a campaign where Ghaiyyath won four times in five races. For his career, Ghaiyyath won nine of 13 races and hit the board in 12 of the 13, producing more than $1.13 million in earnings.
Missing the Breeders’ Cup Hurts Both Race and Connections
“Ghaiyyath has had a fantastic career, winning nine of 13 races,” trainer Charlie Appleby said in a statement. “His high-class cruising speed and relentless style of galloping was a joy to watch and, as I have said before, this year he came together both physically and mentally and looked the finished article. 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.”
That Dubai race produced a victory in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes, one coming by 8 ½ lengths. That cleansed the image of Ghaiyyath’s poor 10th in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where 13/1 Ghaiyyath finished 30 lengths behind winner Waldgeist in the worst race in his career.
It also jump-started his season. In June, Ghaiyyath broke the Newmarket course record in the 1 ½-mile Group 1 Coronation Cup. Going off as the 11/10 favorite against the likes of Stradivarius, Anthony Van Dyck, and Defoe, Ghaiyyath covered the distance in 2:25.89, beating Anthony Van Dyck by 2 ½ lengths.
His Best Win Came at Enable’s Expense
A month later at Sandown Park, Ghaiyyath entered the Eclipse Stakes as the 9/4 second favorite behind Enable. In a field with not only Enable, but Japan, Magic Wand, and Regal Reality, among others, Ghaiyyah went gate-to-wire. He beat Enable by 2 ¼ lengths in the 1 ¼-mile event.
After that race, Ghaiyyath took over the top spot in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2020.
Ghaiyyath completed the Group 1 summer hat trick six weeks later in the 10 ½-furlong International Stakes at York. Going off as the 11/8 favorite against Magical, Lord North, and Kameko, Ghaiyyah seized the lead early, and beat Magical by three lengths. That, despite jockey William Buick gearing him down over the final sixteenth.
Ghaiyyath’s Best Trait: Finishing with Authority
“He has this amazing high cruising speed, but I thought what was evident today was the kick he had a furlong and a half out,” Buick told Bloodhorse after the race. “He completely put the race to bed, finished it off, and stamped his authority. He can do things that other horses don’t do.”
Ghaiyyath’s final race snapped that four-race winning streak. He finished second in last month’s Group 2 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.