EPSOM DERBY and King George hero Adayar will line up in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot after pleasing trainer Charlie Appleby in a gallop.
The three-year-old finished fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp at the start of the month and the Frankel colt had not been certain to make a quick return in the Champions Day feature.
However, Appleby is confident the Godolphin-owned runner is in top form after he sparkled in a piece of work at Moulton Paddocks, with the team relishing a rematch with King George second Mishriff over the shorter trip of 10 furlongs.
Adayar is the mount of Northern Racing College graduate William Buick who is hoping to be crowned champion jockey for the first time tomorrow if he can overhaul Oisin Murphy in time.
Appleby said: “It was an easy piece of work to confirm his well-being, and he did it so well. We discussed it with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the decision was taken to run. We are all looking forward to the rematch with Mishriff, particularly over this trip.
“Adayar beat Mishriff comfortably (a length and three-quarters) in the King George, and then Mishriff came out and dominated the Juddmonte International at York, winning by six lengths, over the distance (approximately) of Saturday’s race.
“We are happy to meet him over the mile and a quarter, which is the trip where we believe Adayar’s potential lies next year (at four).”
As well as John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff, the William Haggas-trained Addeybb, the defending champion, adds real depth to the line-up.
Meanwhile the Gosden-trained Palace Pier and Baaeed, from the Haggas stable, will clash in the preceding Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile.
Palace Pier has been beaten only once in his career, when defeated by three and a half lengths behind The Revenant in this race last season.
Since then the colt has been faultless, beginning his season with an eight-length success in the bet365 Mile and then going on to score a Group One treble that included the Lockinge, Queen Anne and Prix Jacques le Marois.
Palace Pier’s chief rival appears to be the unbeaten Shadwell colt Baaeed, who has been a comfortable winner in each of his five runs from maiden to Group One level.
The three-year-old was a six-and-a-half-length winner of the Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood and then went to take the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on his last outing under Jim Crowley.
Andrew Balding’s Royal Ascot heroine Alcohol Free will look to bounce back from a sixth-placed run when last seen in the Juddmonte at York.
The Revenant bids to retain his title while the veteran Lord Glitters represents Upper Helmsley trainer David O’Meara.