THE best in the world?
On this evidence, there's no middle-distance turf horse on the planet who could live with Ghaiyyath.
After all, in dominating the Juddmonte International, he hammered the reigning 2000 Guineas winner Kameko, multiple Group 1 winner Magical and the Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner Lord North.
And Charlie Appleby's brilliant five-year-old did it the hard way. He has always been a free-going sort, but over the last 12 months he has been able to harness that ferocity.
He was keen enough early on, with the bonny filly Rose Of Kildare pestering him for the first 300 yards.
But he soon established a lead and as he turned the taps on half a mile from home, he had the brilliant Magical completely tapped for toe.
Lord North and Kameko each loomed up to challenge but no sooner had they got to his tail than he'd kicked again under William Buick.
The brave Magical stuck on tenaciously to finish second, but Ghaiyyath was simply in a league of his own.
Appleby said: "I'm delighted with that. It was straightforward, a great performance and a great front-running ride by William.
"Most importantly, it's important for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the team to have a horse like this on our hands.
"He's not let us down this year and as I said right at the start of the year, he's more the finished article now. I'm just delighted for the whole team.
"We were coming into today and his prep had been faultless. We knew he was the finished article.
"We had our plan – the Coronation, miss Ascot and go for the Eclipse before coming here. As we all know plans don't always work out, but he's been exceptional every start this year.
"I've said before that last year he took time to get over races as he put so much in, but right from the get-go we weren't seeing those dips this year.
"It's a great credit to the team at home and talking to His Highness, horses like him are what Godolphin is all about. To have him deliver on each occasion is fantastic for everybody."
Paddy Power have trimmed Ghaiyyath into 11-2 for the Arc in October, and Appleby didn't rule out another crack at the big one – though he has plenty of options.
Appleby continued: "He didn't go a scorching pace, just an honest one. William said turning into the straight that it was unusual as normally on him you can't here the whips cracking, but he could hear them coming.
"So, he gave him a squeeze and he just took off again. Once he hits that second gear a furlong and a half out, he's just relentless – he might not quicken after that but he's an exceptional galloper.
"He doesn't have to lead, we just let him come into the race as he sees fit.
"In the Arc (last year) it was soft ground, off the back of a big performance in Germany and because of his draw we made him go forward, this year we're letting him do it himself.
"The option is there, but we've seen in his last two races how good he is over 10 furlongs.
"The option is there and we'll all have a chat, it's great to talk about options for a horse of this calibre. There's the Irish Champion, the Arc, the Breeders' Cup and Japan as well, so there are plenty of options."
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