This autumn, our racing yards said farewell to three horses who have given us all some thrilling moments on the racecourse: Earthlight, Ghaiyyath and Pinatubo.
Between them, they have recorded nine G1 victories and each retired to stud as Champions of their generation.
Earthlight, the emphatic winner of the G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park Stakes, will stand at Kildangan Stud in Ireland next year.
A son of Shamardal, Earthlight carried all before him during an unbeaten juvenile campaign that saw him win on no fewer than five occasions including two G1 contests.
Earthlight broke his maiden at Maisons-Laffitte last June, before reappearing two weeks later to win easily over six furlongs at Deauville, beating subsequent G1 Criterium International winner Alson.
Stepped up to G3 level for his next start, Earthlight was even more impressive, winning the Darley Prix de Cabourg by four lengths.
Last year’s G1 Darley Prix Morny at Deauville was a truly vintage renewal of the coveted race, with three Royal Ascot winners lining up, together with the Richmond Stakes winner and future G1-winning sprinter Golden Horde. This high-class line up proved no barrier to Earthlight as he outbattled Raffle Prize to record his first top-flight victory. The pair were well clear of the rest of the field.
Next up, Newmarket, and the G1 Middle Park Stakes where Earthlight beat another strong field, this time in a new juvenile course record.
Earthlight was duly crowned French Champion juvenile at the end of this superb campaign.
2020 has of course been an unprecedented year, meaning Earthlight did not make his three-year-old debut until July, where he extended his unbeaten run to six and added another Black Type win to his record in the Listed Prix Kistena. He was then a close fourth (beaten just a length by Dubawi’s Space Blues) in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest before successfully tackling seven furlongs for the first time in the G3 Prix du Pin.
Earthlight concluded his career by finishing second in the G1 Prix de la Foret on Arc day, beaten just a neck by One Master. The mare was landing the race for a record third time.
As well as being by sire of sires Shamardal, Earthlight hails from an outstanding female family. His dam was third in the G1 Fillies’ Mile and is herself a half-sister to two G1 winners.
Ghaiyyath is the best ever son of Dubawi who put up not one, not two, but three of the four best performances of any racehorse in the world this year, before being named Cartier Horse of the Year.
He retires to stud with four G1 victories to his name, three of which he won this year- and all in outstanding fashion: The Coronation Cup, the Eclipse and the Juddmonte International.
Ghaiyyath was a high-class juvenile, breaking his maiden at Newmarket by five lengths before going on to take the G3 Autumn Stakes in October 2017.
Charlie Appleby’s charge won the G3 Prix du Prince d’Orange in an unbeaten three-year-old campaign, before reappearing at four to win the G2 Prix d’Harcourt.
Last September, Ghaiyyath recorded his first G1 victory in sensational style, winning the Grosser Preis von Baden by an astounding 14 lengths. This was the best performance in Germany this century.
Ghaiyyath has simply flourished this year, kicking off his 2020 campaign with another wide-margin Group win, this time taking the Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan by eight and a half lengths.
Upon his return to Europe, he added a second top-flight victory to his record, breaking the course record at Newmarket in the G1 Coronation Cup, beating Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck.
Better was still to come, as he beat a field of the highest class in the G1 Eclipse, including Enable, earning him a Timeform rating of 133.
His fourth G1 win came at York this August, where he won a vintage renewal of the Juddmonte International by three lengths, once again making every yard of the running.
Ghaiyyath is bred on the same hugely successful Dubawi/ Galileo cross that has also produced Classic winner and sire of the moment Night Of Thunder.
Pinatubo is the colt officially assessed as the best two-year-old Europe has seen in a quarter of a century and who added further success at G1 level to his record at three.
The exceptional son of Shamardal was unbeaten in six starts during a stellar two-year-old campaign and has never finished outside the first three throughout his career.
Pinatubo won by over three lengths on his debut back in May, before taking the Woodcote Stakes on Oaks day at Epsom. He then ran out the impressive winner of the Chesham at Royal Ascot (in record time), before trouncing the field by six lengths in the G2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Next stop, the Curragh and arguably the scene of the greatest performance by any two-year-old in the last 25 years, as Pinatubo simply demolished the field in the G1 National Stakes, putting a full nine lengths between himself and his rivals.
Described by the Racing Post afterwards as ‘a genuine superstar’, Pinatubo was later allotted a Timeform rating of 134 for his exceptional victory – 10lbs clear of the next best winner this century and 11lbs clear of previous winners Dubawi and New Approach. His juvenile rating was also 8lbs ahead of his own sire, who was of course himself a two-year-old of the highest calibre.
Pinatubo rounded off 2019 with another G1 victory, this time at Newmarket in the Darley Dewhurst. Despite the going being far from ideal, Pinatubo put up another brilliant performance to win by two lengths. He was duly crowned Champion two-year-old at the Cartier Awards last December.
Reappearing in the 2,000 Guineas, Pinatubo finished a creditable third, beaten only just over a length. He was a close second next time out in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes, finding only exceptional miler Palace Pier too good.
Pinatubo added a third top-flight win to his record in the Prix Jean Prat this July, coming from off the pace and showing a devastating turn of foot close to home to win more easily than the three-quarter-length margin would suggest.
Pinatubo concluded his racing career in the G1 Prix du Moulin where he finished second, but in the process beat four previous G1 winners by the widest margin they’d experienced in all bar one of their 43 combined starts.
Pinatubo is, by some margin, the best performer from his illustrious family, a female line that includes leading sires Invincible Spirit and Kodiac, plus promising young stallion Pride Of Dubai.