The 10-furlong showpiece race only has a handful of dual winners on its roll of honour in recent decades – notably the George Duffield-ridden Alborada (1998 and 1999). More recently Twice Over won back-to-back renewals for the late Sir Henry Cecil (2009 and 2010) while the Frankie Dettori-ridden Cracksman was the last horse to pull off the feat in 2017 and 2018.
Yet, while heavy ground last year played to the strengths of the William Haggas-trained Addeybb and compromised the class of top horses like Mishriff, conditions will be drier this week.
And while they’re expected to suit Mishriff, who won York’s Juddmonte International under David Egan, and the Derby hero Adayar if his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe exertions have not taken their toll, Marquand remains optimistic.
After all, Marquand credits Addeybb with taking his career to new heights – including three unforgettable Group One triumphs in Australia and last year’s imposing victory at Ascot.
“Whether the ground will be quite in his favour – I can’t see how it will dry out too much at this time of year as the dew in the morning keeps the moisture in,” said the rider.
“I was informed the other day he galloped very well, but I don’t get near him too often at home as he’s not usually the best work horse and William likes me to keep my confidence in him by riding him in races instead!
“It sounds like he’s in great form and everyone is happy. There are no chinks in his armour, he’s danced every dance and been to the other side of the world a couple of times and proved himself here in the Champion last year.”
Yorkshire-born Haggas looks set to launch a three-pronged assault, with Al Aasy and the supplemented Dubai Honour also in the mix.
Connections of Dubai Honour have stumped up the required £75,000 to add him to the field off the back of his impressive display in the Prix Dollar at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend.
Charlie Appleby confirmed over the weekend that Adayar would be left in the Champion Stakes at the confirmation stage, with a final decision on his participation to be made later in the week.
If the three-year-old does take his chance, he will be turning out just 13 days after finishing fourth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff, who has been saved for this race since his dominant display in the Juddmonte, is the marginal favourite.
The Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winner had previously finished third in the Eclipse and runner-up to Adayar in the King George.
Aidan O’Brien has left in Love, Bolshoi Ballet and Snowfall, with Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney and the Noel Meade-trained Helvic Dream the other Irish contenders. Cedric Rossi’s Arc fifth Sealiway could represent France.
Euchen Glen (Jim Goldie), Lady Bowthorpe (William Jarvis) and Foxes Tales (Andrew Balding) are the other hopefuls.
Meanwhile, Ed Walker’s top sprinter Starman, ridden to Darley July Cup glory at Newmarket under the aforementioned Marquand, has been retired to stud after a slight setback ruled him out of the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.