Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath and Mark Johnston’s Communique will go head-to-head for Group One glory in the 147th Longines Grosser Preis von Baden on Sunday.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Best Solution became the first British challenger to plunder the prize since Clive Brittain’s Warrsan claimed successive renewals in 2004 and 2005 when striking gold 12 months ago.
This year the Godolphin colours are carried by Charlie Appleby’s Ghaiyyath, who made a flying start to his campaign with a facile victory in the Group Two Prix d’Harcourt at ParisLongchamp in early April.
However, he had to make do with minor honours in third when hot favourite to follow up in the Prix Ganay three weeks later and has not been seen in competitive action since.
“He was obviously very impressive on his first run of the year and we were maybe a little bit disappointed with his second run, even though he was third behind two proven Group One performers in Waldgeist and Study Of Man,” said Appleby.
“We just feel he maybe wasn’t quite as well for his second run as he was for his first – maybe that first run took a bit more out of him than we thought.
“We’re looking forward to stepping him up to a mile and a half for the first time as it’s a trip we always felt would suit him.
“He’s had a nice break and his preparation has gone well, so if the step up in trip brings about a bit of improvement, hopefully he’ll run a big race.”
Mark Johnston’s Princess of Wales’s Stakes winner Communique is making his second successive appearance on German soil after finishing runner-up in the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppergarten three weeks ago.
Ghaiyyath and Communique will be ridden by William Buick and Joe Fanning respectively as they take on seven runners for the home team – including Andreas Wohler’s pair of Ashrun and Laccario, both of whom are unbeaten this season.
Appleby and Johnston are also represented on the undercard in the 86th Oettingen-Rennen.
Nyaleti makes her ninth appearance of the season for Johnston, while Appleby’s Vintager bids to follow up a last-time-out victory in a Group Three at Chantilly in June.
“He won nicely in a Group Three in France last time and hopefully that has done his confidence good,” Appleby added.
“This trip will suit him and on paper he should be very competitive in a race like this.”
Andrew Balding’s Crossing The Line also features in a field of eight runners for the one-mile Group Two.
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Godolphin‘s Cross Counter heads a strong British entry for this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 5.
Charlie Appleby’s runner made history when becoming the first British-trained horse to win the two-mile prize last year, leading home a one-two-three for the raiding party as Marmelo finished second for Hughie Morrison while the Charlie Fellowes-trained Prince Of Arran was third.
All three are in the mix for the Group One event again, with a total of 16 entries from Britain including a second string for Appleby in Ispolini.
Martyn Meade’s Technician and the Andrew Balding-trained Dashing Willoughby are a couple of leading hopes for the St Leger who have been given the option, along with a clutch of runners from last week’s Ebor at York.
Mustajeer has now switched to the care of Australian handler Kris Lees after winning on the Knavesmire for Ger Lyons and that form is strongly represented with the five that followed him home – Red Galileo, Desert Skyline, Raymond Tusk, Barsanti and True Self – all entered.
Raheen House (ninth) and Red Verdon (14th) also feature, with Ian Williams’ Gold Mount another notable contender.
Joseph O’Brien won the race with Rekindling in 2017 and he has five contenders this time, including Buckhurst and Master Of Reality while his father Aidan has 11, including Leger possibles Il Paradiso and Constantinople.
Last year’s Doncaster hero Kew Gardens is also in the reckoning along with the admirable Magic Wand, who finished second in the Arlington Million last time out.
Dermot Weld twice won the race and he has Stivers, an ex-Argentinian horse who has yet to race for him, while Torcedor is an intriguing entry for Andreas Wohler after being prevented from travelling by a temperature last year.
Local hopes are headed by Finche and Rostropovich, who finished fourth and fifth last year, along with Shraaoh, Surprise Baby and Sixties Groove among a total entry of 152.
A handful of the European raiders are also entered in the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup over 12 furlongs on October 19.
A total of 143 nominations includes the likes of Technician, Prince Of Arran, Raheen House and Magic Wand, with Balding’s Pivoine another possible runner.
“There is great depth among the entries and it will be a challenge to secure a place in both races,” said Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of racing.
“It’s great to see Cross Counter given his chance to become the first dual international winner of the Melbourne Cup and those horses that finished second through seventh behind him last year being given their chance to atone.
“The Caulfield and Melbourne Cups are Australia’s premier staying races, so it’s equally pleasing to see so many Derby, Oaks and interstate Cup winners among the entries for both races providing the opportunity for a strong local response to an impressive international challenge.”
Weights for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups will be released on September 10.
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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is excited about stepping Ghaiyyath up in trip on his first start in more than four months in the Longines Grosser Preis von Baden in Germany.
The Newmarket handler believes the Dubawi colt will prove a different proposition when running over a mile and a half for the first time in the Group One contest at Baden Baden on Sunday.
After making a winning return to action in a Group Two at ParisLongchamp in April, Ghaiyyath was last sighted suffering an odds-on defeat in the Prix Ganay back at the French track later that month.
Appleby said: “Ghaiyyath is on track for Germany at the weekend. His work has been good, and preparation has been well to date. We are looking forward to getting him back on track.
“We will take a look at the race during the course of the week and make a final decision later on – but I’m very happy with what he has done so far and where he is, and at the moment all systems head towards Germany.
“This will be his first start over a mile and a half as well, and we have been looking forward to that. Hopefully he will be an exciting horse in the autumn.”
With Ghaiyyath set to make his return from a break at the weekend, stablemate Old Persian is expected to travel further afield in search for a second top-level success – with Appleby earmarking the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine on September 14 as his next target.
Having failed to fire in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on his penultimate start, this year’s Dubai Sheema Classic winner finished a close third on his latest outing in a Group One at Hoppegarten this month.
Appleby said: “He ran a respectable race in Germany and seems to have come out of it well.
“With Ghaiyyath coming back, he will probably go to Canada for the Northern Dancer next month.”
A trip to Australia appears unlikely for 2017 St James’s Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy, with Appleby instead considering a Dubai campaign next year.
He added: “I don’t think we will be going to Australia with Barney Roy.
“I think the plan is to hold back and wait for Dubai. I can see him going well in something like the Jebel Hatta.”
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