Buick motors home on Ghaiyyath to land Coronation Cup
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Ghaiyyath gave owners Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby the perfect filip ahead of unbeaten Pinatubo's run in Saturday's 2000 Guineas landing the Group One Coronation Cup on Friday at Newmarket.
William Buick guided home the 11/10 favourite ahead of last year's Epsom Derby champion Anthony Van Dyck with two-time Ascot Gold Cup winner Stradivarius third.
The race had been switched from Epsom as the schedule was re-organised when racing was suspended on March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Even, though, owners are not permitted access to the racecourse, to keep the numbers down, some dressed up for the day and drank champagne as they tuned in to watch their horses on television.
Although Anthony Van Dyck ate into his advantage Ghaiyyath had enough in the tank to hold him off and secure the first Group One contest of the season.
"He (Ghaiyyath) is one of our flagship horses in the stable," Buick told ITV speaking through the mask that jockeys are obliged to wear due to the coronavirus regulations put in place to allow racing without spectators to resume.
"He had an up and down season last year and so this is a very important win for him in a top class Group One."
Frankie Dettori was delighted with the performance of Stradivarius whose trainer John Gosden had said was using the race as a prep for a tilt at a third successive Ascot Gold Cup in a fortnight's time.
"It is all systems go," said Dettori.
"That was an ideal prep race for him and he ran really well.
"He just is not quite good enough to win a Group One at the shorter distance (1 1/2 miles (2400 metres) to Gold Cup two miles (3200m)."
- 'Like his old dad' -
Dettori's hopes of landing his first race for Godolphin since they split eight years ago were denied him earlier in the day.
He had to make do with second on Lord Tennyson behind Silvestre de Souza and 14/1 shot Marie's Diamond in the Listed Paradise Stakes.
The winner was a welcome tonic for trainer Mark Johnston -- Britain's most successful trainer in terms of all-time winners had been struck down with the coronavirus and been in bed for four weeks.
He has recovered sufficiently to make it to Newmarket from his Yorkshire base.
Mike Prince, manager of the syndicate that owns Marie's Diamond, bore a hirsute look thanks to lockdown and barbers being shut.
"I need a clip I have a lockdown beard," he said.
"However, I can wait for that my immediate priority is to have a glass of champagne via Zoom with the syndicate."
Dettori's great rival for many years Kieren Fallon has been retired for a while but his son Cieren looks set to haunt the Italian in the final years of his career.
Fallon Junior rode a stormer on Oxted to land the Group Three Abernant Stakes -- a contest his father won twice -- in what was his first ever ride in that level of race.
"He is special, rides like his old dad," said co-owner Tony Hirschfeld.
© 2020 AFP