Mishriff poised for eagerly-awaited rematch with Adayar

Mishriff bids to crown an already memorable campaign with victory in what promises to be a thrilling renewal of the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Last year’s French Derby winner has taken his game to another level this season, which began with a lucrative international double as he landed the Saudi Cup in Riyadh and the Sheema Classic in Dubai.

Following a well-earned break, the John and Thady Gosden-trained colt returned with a third-placed finish in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July before finding Derby hero Adayar too strong in the King George at Ascot, giving away 11lb over a mile and a half.

The four-year-old got back on the winning trail when securing his first top-level prize on home soil in the Juddmonte International at York in August – and connections are hoping the decision to keep their powder dry for the Champion Stakes, rather than contesting the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a fortnight ago, will be vindicated on Saturday.

Ted Voute, racing manager for Mishriff’s owner Prince Faisal, said: “It’s obviously a very good race, but he’s still favourite and we’re very much looking forward to it.

“We’ve got ground that is better than it was for the Arc, which is good. It looks like there’s very little rain forecast, so I think the going will be to his liking.

“I talked to John on Tuesday after Mishriff had done his final pipe-opener and he said it was very pleasing, so fingers crossed.”

Voute is under no illusions about the task facing Mishriff, with the son of Make Believe not only renewing rivalry with Arc fourth Adayar, but taking on last year’s Champion Stakes winner Addeybb, as well as the latter’s two stablemates Dubai Honour and Al Aasy.

“The Prince has always been happy to take on other good horses as that’s part of the game – to try to be the best. We’re excited,” Voute added.

Adayar was too strong over a mile and a half for Mishriff in the King George
Adayar was too strong over a mile and a half for Mishriff in the King George (Nigel French/PA)

Mishriff’s weight concession to Adayar is now just 4lb – and over 10 furlongs, a trip at which Adayar is unproven.

But Charlie Appleby is happy with his Epsom hero, reporting he came out of his Paris exertions in good shape, despite the very testing ground – convincing connections to take their chance.

The Frankel colt went through his paces on Wednesday, and was given the green light afterwards.

Appleby told the Godolphin website: “All the signs after the Arc were positive. They went steady for the first half of the race, which is why William (Buick) allowed him to take it up. They really only raced for the last mile. He has been beaten just under four lengths after kicking for home at the top of the straight.

“We have run all the usual veterinary checks on him this week, and he’s in great shape. I’m very happy with him going into Saturday,” he added.

Tom Marquand celebrates after winning last year's Champion Stakes on Addeybb
Tom Marquand celebrates after winning last year’s Champion Stakes on Addeybb (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

William Haggas acknowledges conditions might not be quite as testing as Addeybb would like ahead of the defence of his crown.

He said: “He needs it the softer the better. His ideal is passing an inspection on the morning of the race! He sloshes through that and he’s very effective in soft ground, or heavy ground.

“This is going to be soft, (but) I’m not sure it’s going to be soft enough for him, especially drying, gluey ground, but he stays well and his record right-handed is fantastic.

“He’s been a fantastic horse for us and I won’t have a bad word said about him.”

Dubai Honour, so impressive when winning the Prix Dollar in Paris two weeks ago, was supplemented at a cost of £75,000 on Monday.

Haggas is looking forward to testing his powers at the highest level, saying: “He only won a handicap at the July meeting (at Newmarket) and then went for the Guillaume d’Ornano, which is a four hundred grand Group Two. They went really hard, he came from the back and won easily.

“In the Dollar they went really slow and he was in the back of the field. James (Doyle) said that he showed a very, very smart turn of foot and he was well on top at the finish.

“Now there’s nothing really for him here, there’s a race in Bahrain for a half a million pounds and there’s obviously the race in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Cup – which is very valuable.

“That’s not until December, the horse seems really well so I put the suggestion to the owner that we might supplement him and he nearly bit my hand off and said ‘if you would like to do that we’d be delighted’, so here we are.”

Al Aasy looked destined for the big time after winning successive Group Threes at Newbury in the spring, but narrow defeats on his next two starts in the Coronation Cup and the Princess of Wales’s Stakes led to him being gelded.

The son of Sea The Stars could finish only fourth on his first appearance since at Newbury last month, but Haggas feels it would be dangerous to leave him out of calculations.

He added: “We all know that he doesn’t find as much under pressure as he looks like he might, (but) I would hope that his jockey will wait a bit. He’ll travel strongly and we’ll see what he has to offer.

“He may not be good enough, but he’s a talented horse and he’s no mug in a race of this quality.

“He’s been rubbished by everyone, so I’d love to see him run a good race.”

Adayar confirmed for Champion Stakes challenge

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 on Wednesday.

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 and Mishriff fought out the King George finish in July
Adayar and Mishriff fought out the King George finish in July (Nigel French/PA)

Appleby told “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).”

Last year's winner Addeybb defends his title at Ascot
Last year’s winner Addeybb defends his title at Ascot (Mike Egerton/PA)

Adayar and the John and Thady Gosden-trained Mishriff head 10 contenders for the Group One contest, with last year’s victor Addeybb also in the mix for William Haggas.

The Newmarket handler has two other chances in the supplemented Dubai Honour, a winner on Arc weekend, and Al Aasy, who has failed to build on a narrow second in the Coronation Cup earlier in the year.

Aidan O’Brien relies on Bolshoi Ballet while Jim Bolger sends Mac Swiney to form a dual Irish challenge.

Arc fifth Sealiway represents Cedric Rossi with Euchen Glen and Foxes Tales completing the field.

Addeybb heads 14 contenders for Champion Stakes glory

Last year’s winner Addeybb, Derby and King George hero Adayar and the brilliant Mishriff are among 14 confirmations for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb bagged his first Group One victory on home soil in the Champions Day feature 12 months ago, but has made just three appearances since.

The seven-year-old returned to Australia to defend both the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Randwick, having to make do with the runner-up spot in the former event but successfully defending his QEII crown.

Addeybb made a promising return from a break when splitting St Mark’s Basilica and Mishriff in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July, but has missed multiple engagements since due to unsuitable ground conditions.

Tom Marquand will be on board and told Sky Sports Racing: “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.

“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.”

Haggas, who will be praying for as much as rain as possible ahead of his bid for back-to-back Champion Stakes triumphs this weekend, reports Addeybb to be in “as good a shape as we could possibly have him.”

He said: “We are very pleased with Addeybb’s condition. We’d like rain for him, and the more the better, but it doesn’t look as if we are going to get it. I’d be surprised if it was quick ground though, as it was so wet there at the last meeting, and he’ll run.

“I’d have loved him to have had a run, as it’s a top, top race, but he goes well fresh and he can win off a lay-off. His last two weeks have been really good.”

The Somerville Lodge handler 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.

Dubai Honour after winning the Prix Dollar
Dubai Honour after winning the Prix Dollar (PA)

“Dubai Honour is a nice young horse who has won two Group Twos. He’s doing very well physically and he’s a pretty useful horse,” Haggas added.

“This will be a big rise in class for him, but we’ve got nothing to lose. I’m running Al Aasy too, and he’s not without hope, dropping back in trip. Everyone questions him bar me, but he’s a very, very talented horse.”

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.

Adayar remains in contention for the Champion Stakes
Adayar remains in contention for the Champion Stakes (Nigel French/PA)

The marginal favourite with most bookmakers is John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff, who has been saved for this race since his dominant display in the Juddmonte International at York in August.

The Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winner had previously finished third in the Eclipse and runner-up to Adayar in the King George.

Gosden said: “We’ve been happy with Mishriff since York and we are looking forward to running him again.

“It’s always one race at a time, but we wanted to space his races in case we go on to run later in the year, possibly at the Breeders’ Cup.

“It looks like being a good race and we should get better ground than last year, when he really didn’t like it. He can handle soft, but last year it became specialists’ ground. Full marks to all of the winners that day, but it’s hard to quicken on that stuff.”

Snowfall winning the Yorkshire Oaks
Snowfall winning the Yorkshire Oaks (Nigel French/PA)

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.

Derby and King George hero Adayar will retain Champion Stakes option

Adayar could yet be part of Godolphin’s strong team for Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday, should he continue to give the right signs following his run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Newmarket trainer Charlie Appleby feels he already has strong chances with Master Of The Seas in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Creative Force in the Qipco British Champions Sprint – and has confirmed Adayar will be left in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Monday’s five-day confirmation stage.

The Epsom Derby hero found very testing ground against him when fourth in the ParisLongchamp showpiece, having missed his intended prep. It was his first start since winning the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July.

“He will be left in the Champion Stakes tomorrow, for the simple reason at the moment he has come out of the Arc well,” Appleby told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday.

“Should connections ask me next week how the horse is, and I say ‘jumping around’ and they say ‘where can we go?’, I’d look a bit daft saying I’d taken him out of the Champion Stakes on the Monday.

“He will stay in tomorrow. We’ve an open book and should connections want to run him again and I can’t at that time give a negative for not to run him, then the Champion Stakes will be looked at.”

Appleby is keen on the prospects of Master Of The Seas, who had his first outing since just being touched off in the 2000 Guineas when third to Benbatl in the Joel Stakes, and on Creative Force. The Jersey Stakes winner has performer creditably in the both the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup.

“The way the weather forecast is potentially looking, Master Of The Seas will run in the QEII and Creative Force will head to the Champions Sprint. Two handy horses,” he said.

Master Of The Seas (far side) is on target for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Master Of The Seas (far side) is on target for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (David Dennis/Jockey Club)

“Creative Force is learning how to sprint now. We’ve seen what he can do over seven. He’s been competitive at six and he’s still learning. As we all know, dropping back into sprinting divisions at that level it takes a bit of getting the hang of, but he’s getting there and he’ll go into the weekend a big player.

“Master Of The Seas has definitely come on for that run in the Joel and we’re looking forward to him.”

Mishriff, runner-up to Adayar in the King George, is gunning for revenge after destroying the field in the Juddmonte International at York in August.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained colt was well-beaten in the Champion Stakes 12 months ago, but that race was on testing ground.

His jockey David Egan is expecting a much better performance with conditions looking to be more suitable.

“Mr Gosden explained last year he wasn’t comfortable on the ground, so you put a line through that, and the fact he went to Saudi from there – to (then) go and win the best race in the world (at York) was an example of how you can put a line through that,” he said.

“The way he ran at Ascot finishing behind the Derby winner, Adayar, giving him so much weight over a mile and a half I think it just stretched him. His run just petered out in the last 100 yards.

“Over a stiff mile and a quarter on turf I think that is his optimum trip. With the weather forecast looking good, it’s looking hopeful for next Saturday.”

Adayar far from certain to line up in Champion Stakes

Charlie Appleby insists no decision has yet been made as to whether Adayar takes his chance in the Qipco Champion Stakes – despite the colt attracting strong market support for the Ascot showpiece on Saturday week.

Adayar, who faded into fourth place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the closing stages after making much of the running, was cut to 3-1 from 7-1 with Ladbrokes for the Champion.

This year’s Derby and King George hero missed his intended prep run before last weekend’s Arc.

Adayar has already enjoyed a brilliant season
Adayar has already enjoyed a brilliant season (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

While Appleby said Adayar is likely to be left in the Ascot race at the five-day confirmation stage on Monday, his participation appears far from guaranteed.

The Godolphin trainer said at Newmarket on Friday: “He’s got an entry in the Champion Stakes, and the likelihood is we’ll leave him in it.

“That’s partly because conditions – potentially – could suit, but it’s a decision that has still to be made.

“At the minute it’s not even on the radar – he had his first day cantering away yesterday, he cantered again this morning. While I’m not wanting to sound negative, it’s pointless me saying yes because it’s too far away.”

In other Champions Day news, John Gosden has also yet to confirm whether Stradivarius will run in the Long Distance Cup.

The three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner was last seen on Arc weekend, running a valiant race in defeat behind Trueshan in the Prix du Cadran.

Stradivarius is not certain to run at Ascot - but could be back next year
Stradivarius is not certain to run at Ascot – but could be back next year (Mike Egerton/PA)

Gosden told ITV Racing: “I need to talk to Bjorn (Nielsen, owner). I think he wants to keep him for next year – there’s a lot of balls in the air, (but) he came back wonderfully from France, he really enjoyed his trip.

“He’s full of himself and out on the heath screaming and shouting.

“Mishriff (Champion Stakes) and Palace Pier (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes) are on target – they worked this week.

“We might well get good ground at Ascot, which of course they didn’t get at Longchamp.

“If you start moving these meetings the climate will tell you who is boss – look what happened at Goodwood this year.”

Adayar and Snowfall added to Arc field

Classic winners Adayar and Snowfall have, as expected, been supplemented for Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.

Connections of Derby and King George hero Adayar, who is trained by Charlie Appleby, and Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall, winner of the English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, stumped up the 120,000 euros fee to be added to what is shaping into a stellar renewal of the autumn showpiece.

Adayar’s stablemate Hurricane Lane, winner of the Irish Derby and St Leger, remains in the reckoning along with the Dermot Weld-trained Tarnawa, a multiple Group One winner who was edged out by St Mark’s Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes last time.

Tarnawa is among the leading lights
Tarnawa is among the leading lights (Niall Carson/PA)

O’Brien also has last season’s star filly Love and Broome in the Group One highlight, for which 16 remain in contention following Wednesday’s forfeit stage.

Alenquer from William Haggas’ yard, the Richard Hannon-trained Mojo Star and Roger Varian’s Teona also represent British interests while Bubble Gift, Sealiway, Baby Rider and Raabihah form the home defence.

Torquator Tasso is a German hope, with Japan set to be double-handed with the Takashi Saito-trained Chrono Genesis, the mount of Oisin Murphy, and Deep Bond for Ryuji Okubo.

Deep Bond warmed up for the race with victory in the Prix Foy over the course and distance earlier in the month when ridden from the front by Cristian Demuro.

However, he will be ridden by Mickael Barzalona in the Arc and the rider was on board for a gallops spin on Wednesday morning.

Speaking via an interpreter, Okubo said: “Cristian couldn’t ride for various reasons and I was surprised that Mickael Barzalona was free in the race.

“It will depend on the weather (how Deep Bond is ridden). There is rain forecast over the weekend, so the ground is going to be a little bit softer than it was on the day of the Prix Foy.

“Everything will really depend on the pace of the race and also the draw.

“In Japan he doesn’t usually run from the front, he usually drops in behind the leader and obviously on Sunday we will have to think how that will pan out, but we wouldn’t want to have Chrono Genesis just sitting behind.”

Jean-Claude Rouget’s Raabihah had the option of running against fillies in the Prix de Royallieu – but the decision to aim for gold was taken to see if she could better last year’s fifth place behind stablemate Sottsass.

“It is similar to Sottsass in a way as he was third in the Arc and came back to win it. Like him, she appeared not the same horse in the spring as the year before, but it is hard for them to come back after tough races at three. She has been prepared for this race,” said Rouget.

“It was her work last week which convinced us to take the Arc route. She worked with Coeursamba (French 1000 Guineas winner) and that work was decisive.

“I’m not in the habit of talking up my horses, but she deserves her chance. It’s more my decision than the family or Angus Gold (racing manager), but they followed me so I hope I don’t disappoint them. She will go to stud next year, but could have one more race somewhere this year.”

All systems go for Appleby’s Arc challengers

Adayar and Hurricane Lane were both reported in top shape on Sunday by Charlie Appleby, as the Godolphin trainer looks forward to what promises to be a formidable double challenge for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The Frankel colts worked on Saturday – with James Doyle aboard Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger winner Hurricane Lane for the first time as William Buick has sided with Derby and King George hero Adayar.

The only stumbling block to Hurricane Lane’s participation in Paris next weekend would be if the ground threatened to become fast.

Adayar powered to Derby glory at Epsom
Adayar powered to Derby glory at Epsom (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Appleby said: “I’m very pleased with both horses this morning. As we know, Adayar met with that setback before the Arc trials and missed two pieces of work – which we felt was enough to make us not go to the trials, because as we said before he’s a horse that didn’t need to earn his stripes.

“I didn’t want to be pushing a horse into a trial, having missed two pieces of work going in. Since then he’s done very well – we had a very easy piece of work last Saturday, and the first chance William had to sit on him was on Wednesday of this week.

“All the signs were very good, William was pleased with him – he said he felt great and was fresh on the back of having that easy period. He took him through the gallop very well and picked up well. He came out of that gallop in good order and went back into a nice, routine gallop yesterday morning – more of a stronger pace in the gallop, and he drew up it very well, again ridden by William.

“Again I’d emphasise William was very happy with him. He was happy with him on Wednesday, and that’s why after discussions with him he was the horse he felt he would like to ride in the Arc. William is obviously first jockey, and if that is the horse he chooses to ride then I feel that’s positive going into any race.

“We’re very pleased with the way Adayar is – and most importantly how he has come out of both of those gallops, Wednesday and yesterday.”

Hurricane Lane has taken his St Leger victory in his stride
Hurricane Lane has taken his St Leger victory in his stride (Mike Egerton/PA)

While Hurricane Lane went into unchartered waters at Doncaster trip-wise, his trainer feels he has taken his Leger exertions particularly well.

He said: “I felt the St Leger was the easiest of his last three victories. I know the Grand Prix de Paris was very emphatic, but what we’ve seen of him and the figures that we get to see and his general well-being, that’s the race he seems to have come out of the best. He hadn’t done a piece of work until yesterday morning – he’d gone through routine exercise, but that was his first solid piece of work.

“James was in the saddle and couldn’t have been any happier – he moved well and did his usual work. He’s always been a pleasing work horse. He’s not an exciting work horse – neither are really – but it’s just the mannerism in the way they do it, they do it the right way round.

“We’re very pleased with the way he has come out of it this morning as well.”

Charlie Appleby has a huge weekend ahead
Charlie Appleby has a huge weekend ahead in Paris (Mike Egerton/PA)

The Moulton Paddocks handler concluded: “After discussions, we’re very confident if we can have a good week this week that we have two horses going into an Arc in great shape.

“Two exciting horses with two different profiles – and with the way the forecast looks at the moment, it looks as if there’s going to be a bit of rain during the course of the week, and that will suit us.

“The only negative I can give to the participation of Hurricane Lane is if it was to become fast ground. That is a conversation that would have to take place nearer the time.”

Buick picks Adayar as intended Arc mount

William Buick will ride Adayar in preference to stablemate Hurricane Lane if both horses take their chance in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Adayar was a surprise winner of the Derby in June, but backed up that performance with a brilliant effort in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Hurricane Lane, meanwhile, was third at Epsom and has since won the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger.

Appleby said the Frankel colts will work on Saturday, with a final decision due next week on Hurricane Lane’s participation.

He told the Godolphin website: “A week is a long time in racing, particularly when you are coming into a race such as the Arc.

“We obviously have to take on board the well-being of both horses, but also the way the race is taking shape, and, very importantly, the ground at Longchamp.

“The one thing Hurricane Lane does not want is a quick surface. Adayar comes into the versatile category, but we have always felt ease in the ground enhances Hurricane Lane’s prospects. Unfortunately, the weather in Paris is out of our hands.

“Hurricane Lane gallops tomorrow. Adayar will also gallop. Then there will be discussions with the team, and we will see where we stand during the week, whether we will have one or two Arc runners.”

Charlie Appleby with William Buick after the St Leger
Charlie Appleby with William Buick after the St Leger (Mike Egerton/PA)

Of the decision Buick was facing, Appleby said: “It’s a hard choice, but William is confident he’s picking the right horse.

“I’m always happy for jockeys to be able to choose the horse they would like to ride. That means they have confidence in the horse and they take that into the race.

“James (Doyle) will partner Hurricane Lane in a simple piece of work tomorrow. Then discussions will take place next week on his participation.

“The exciting part is that it could be history in the making. Adayar has already made his mark becoming the first in 20 years to complete the Derby/King George double, while Hurricane Lane would be attempting something that’s never been done, winning the St Leger and the Arc in the same year.”

Charlie Appleby has plenty of respect for Arc rival Tarnawa
Charlie Appleby has plenty of respect for Arc rival Tarnawa (Niall Carson/PA)

Appleby also picked out what he sees as the big danger to his runners – the Dermot Weld-trained Breeders’ Cup winner Tarnawa.

He said: “Fillies at this time of the year, if they are going in the right direction, can be very hard to beat.

“Tarnawa is a Group One winner over course and distance (Prix Vermeille), she’s a Breeders’ Cup winner and finished a very good second in the Irish Champion Stakes. Her credentials are first class.”

Appleby savours Classic show from Hurricane Lane – now for the Arc?

Charlie Appleby could be forgiven for thinking training Classic winners is easy, as Hurricane Lane added another to his record at Doncaster.

The Godolphin trainer is doing a stellar job of propelling Sheikh Mohammed’s operation back into the big league after a few relatively fallow seasons.

Winning the Derby with Masar in 2018 was his breakthrough success and he quickly followed up earlier this year with Adayar – more of him later – while Hurricane Lane also added the Irish version.

Since then the flashy chestnut had claimed the Grand Prix de Paris is breathtaking fashion, making him the red-hot favourite for the Cazoo St Leger.

He was the clear form pick, as his sole defeat came behind his stablemate Adayar at Epsom, and everything went according to the script in front of a huge crowd on Town Moor.

Mojo Star – runner-up to Adayar in the Derby – put up a valiant effort in second, beaten two and three-quarter lengths with The Mediterranean, one of Aidan O’Brien’s four runners, back in third.

“This race is a Classic and that is the good thing about Sheikh Mohammed – when we had the discussions, some people might have swerved this race but you can’t beat tradition and history,” said Appleby.

“To be a part of it and come here with a horse like Hurricane Lane is great. We were confident he’d run a big race and were obviously hopeful he could win it.”

Hurricane Lane and William Buick cruising to victory
Hurricane Lane and William Buick cruising to victory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Classics are rarely won as smoothly as this one – had you taken the 8-11 about Hurricane Lane, you never for one moment thought you were not collecting.

“To be honest, when he broke from the gates and William (Buick) got a good position and Hollie (Doyle, on Interpretation) set a decent gallop, not a ridiculous one, I was happy,” said Appleby.

“Sometimes if one goes haring off in front, it can make the race disjointed but that didn’t happen, it was a lovely race to watch, everyone had the pitch they wanted.

“I was watching William and when they turned into the straight I was happy. Two furlongs out I could tell from William’s body language he was only just getting warmed up.”

And it really was that straightforward, with only the stamina question to answer. But Appleby had always been confident he would stay.

“His only defeat is still the Derby and we can use the excuse that he lost both front shoes but I don’t think that was the excuse, it was only the fourth race of his life and I just think he didn’t handle the track.

“The one thing about the Derby is you need the experience – to handle the day itself and the undulations of the track and I think it was the undulations which caught him out more than anything. When he won the Dante it was all a bit slow motion.”

On to Adayar, currently second-favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Team Godolphin celebrate another St Leger
Team Godolphin celebrate another St Leger (Mike Egerton/PA)

While his Derby win may have caught out some – perhaps even Appleby and Buick, who made no secret of the fact they thought Hurricane Lane was the one – the fact Adayar was majestic in beating Mishriff and Love in the King George at Ascot suggests he is a rapidly-improving colt.

“It would be a nice race to watch should he (Hurricane Lane) run in the Arc! I was asked the question recently (which one I’d favour) and how can you choose?,” said Appleby.

“As it stands Adayar is our main Arc contender, but we could look at Hurricane Lane joining him. To turn up with one of them would be good, two would be fantastic.”

Adayar to miss Prix Niel and go straight for the Arc

Charlie Appleby’s Derby and King George hero Adayar has had a minor setback which has ruled him out of the Prix Niel this weekend and he will now head straight for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

His victory at Epsom came at 16-1 – but he proved there was absolutely no fluke in that display when beating his elders in a classy King George performance at Ascot.

Appleby had hoped to run the Frankel colt at ParisLongchamp on Sunday to put him spot on for the European showpiece, but an infection in a hind leg just halted his preparations.

The trainer told “Adayar missed a couple of days, and after discussions, we felt there was no need to press on to a trial (for the Arc). So, the decision was made to head straight to the Arc.

“He has resumed full training, and as a Derby and King George winner, he fully deserves to be running in what is shaping up to be a vintage Arc.”

Monday Musings: The Apples of Charlie’s Eye

I finally made it to Ascot on Saturday, my first visit to a racecourse since the last day of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, writes Tony Stafford. As I drove the last few miles the excitement was almost making me breathless and I was delighted that by waiting until there was an element of normality, my trip was just as I remembered all those wonderful big-race summer afternoons.

The best part, apart from seeing a great winner of a very good King George, was the thing that I, as a now very senior citizen, always regarded as my private, exclusive club. When you’ve been racing in a sort of professional role you get to know hundreds, probably into the thousands, of people in the same narrow environment.

When loads of them stop to ask, “How are you? Long time, no see!” and variations of those sentiments having been stuck mostly at home for 16 months, it is so energising. I always used to say, “Most people my age probably see half a dozen people a day if they are lucky. I go racing three or four days a week and see maybe an average of a hundred or more that I know.”

And Ascot on Saturday was as normal as it ever was. Bars, restaurants and boxes open and fully extended, the always beautifully attired Ascot crowds basking in the better than predicted weather and fast ground befitting the middle of summer.

One person who didn’t make it was the “You’ve been pinged!” trainer of the brilliant Adayar, Charlie Appleby, who had neglected to do what people increasingly have been doing, removing the app from their phones.

Not too many Derby winners have followed their Epsom success with victory in the same year’s King George. It was more commonplace in the first 50 years of the race’s existence after its inauguration in 1951. But in this century, until Saturday only Galileo, Adayar’s grandsire via Frankel, had managed the double.

Appleby therefore made it four mile and a half Group 1 wins since the beginning of June with his two Frankel colts, the home-bred Adayar and his stablemate Hurricane Lane, the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris hero, bred by Philippa Cooper’s Normandie Stud.

Both horses won maidens in the last part of October, Hurricane Lane on debut and Adayar second time out. Both therefore were far less trumpeted at the beginning of this season when again Hurricane Run started with more precocity, indeed until he finished third to Adayar, the apparent third string at Epsom, he was unbeaten.

Adayar’s juvenile victory came in the Golden Horn Maiden at Nottingham, the race name being awarded to the great Derby winner the year after his Classic triumph. Previously it was known as the Oath Maiden Stakes in honour of the 1999 Derby hero owned by the Thoroughbred Corporation, who won the same maiden to get his career on the go the previous autumn.

I thought I would have a look at Charlie Appleby’s 2021 three-year-old complement courtesy of Horses in Training. Charlie had 70 horses of that age listed at the start of the season, 21 fillies and 49 male horses. Of the 21 fillies, eleven are by Dubawi, also the sire of 27 Appleby colts and geldings. Surprisingly, as many as 12 were already gelded at the start of the campaign and at least a couple more have subsequently experienced the unkindest cut.

Appleby had three colts by Dubawi as major candidates for the 2,000 Guineas: Meydan Classic winner Naval Crown, who beat Master Of The Seas that day; Master Of The Seas himself, who went on to win the Craven Stakes; and One Ruler, runner-up to Mac Swiney in the 2020 Vertem Futurity, also went to the Guineas. Master Of The Seas did best, losing out in a desperate thrust to the line with Poetic Flare and, while that Jim Bolger horse has gone on to run in both the Irish (close third to Mac Swiney) and French (easy winner) Guineas, and then dominated the St James’s Palace Stakes, we are yet to see Master Of The Seas again.

Another Dubawi colt to do well has been Yibir, winner of the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket’s July meeting, while the geldings Kemari (King Edward VII) and Creative Force (Jersey Stakes) both at Royal Ascot have been to the fore.

It is noticeable that several of the gelded group have been either difficult to train or simply very late developers.

Meanwhile, the five-strong team of Frankel sons have been nothing short of spectacular. It will be of great satisfaction for the organisation that Adayar is out of a Dubawi mare and not an especially talented one.

What of the other three? One, Magical Land, has been gelded. He won the latest of his seven races for Appleby and has an 80 rating. The others have not been sighted this year. Fabrizio, placed as a juvenile, is a non-winner but Dhahabi is an interesting horse I’d love to see reappearing.

At 3.1 million guineas this half-brother to Golden Horn carried plenty of expectations. He won on debut and, last time in the autumn, was third to One Ruler in a Group 3 at Newmarket. Just the five Frankels, then, and I bet Charlie wishes he had a few more. The list of juveniles shows 48 sons and daughters of Dubawi and 11 by Frankel.

For many years the ultra-loyal and ever agreeable Saeed Bin Suroor was the only and then the principal Godolphin trainer. His stable is now increasingly the junior partner with half of the 140-odd complement listed as four years of age or older, and many of these are probably more suited to the structure of racing in Dubai over the winter. Saeed has three Dubawi three-year-old colts and one filly this year, but none by Frankel. The juveniles listed reveal one by each stallion.

How ironic that in the year of Prince Khalid Abdullah’s death in January, the all-conquering owner of Juddmonte Farms never saw the crowning of Frankel, already the greatest racehorse certainly of the past half-century, as a Derby-producing sire.

He will surely progress again from this situation and, now with Galileo also recently deceased, is in position as the obvious inheritor of his sire’s pre-eminence.

The other younger contenders will take time to earn their prestige and it can only be good for racing that a horse that went unbeaten through 14 races has made such a statement at the top end of the sport.

To win his King George, Adayar had to see off the challenge from the tough Mishriff, stepping forward from his comeback third to St Mark’s Basilica in the Eclipse Stakes. His owner, Prince Abdulrahman Abdullah Faisal, was one of the people I’ve known for half a lifetime that greeted me on Saturday. Also, Adayar had to consign Love to her first defeat for 21 months. The concession of so much weight to a younger colt by an older mare – 8lb – is never easy, but her race didn’t go as expected either.

Her pacemaker Broome missed the break and then only gradually moved into the lead. In the straight Love looked poised and then Mishriff tightened her up on the outside as Ryan Moore was beginning to move her into a challenging position. Having to change course, as the Coolmore filly did halfway up the short Ascot straight, is never the recipe for success.

It is fair to say, though, that Adayar would have won whatever. It will be interesting to see how Appleby shuffles his pack. Someone suggested the St Leger. If you wanted to make Adayar a jumps stallion, that’s what you would do. He won’t go anywhere near Town Moor in September. With due deference to the fifth Classic, he will have much bigger fish to fry.

- TS

Appleby hails Adayar after historic King George performance

If any further proof were needed that we are living in strange times, the fact Charlie Appleby missed his Derby winner Adayar following up in the King George And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes through self-isolation just about confirmed it.

It became apparent Appleby was not on track when his New Science won the opening Listed race – and his assistant Alex Merriam duly delivered the news why.

While Appleby later admitted his pain at not being present to witness his fine-looking colt become the first Derby winner since Galileo 20 years ago to follow up at Ascot, having already gone down in history at Epsom, it will soften the blow that he now clearly possesses the two best three-year-old, mile-and-a-half horses in training.

Adayar had stablemate Hurricane Lane back in third at Epsom, and that one has subsequently won the Irish Derby and another Group One in France, with the St Leger now on his agenda.

Appleby was surprised to see Adayar beat Hurricane Lane at Epsom, and subsequent events backed up that view, but the Derby hero was mighty again in front of around 15,000 spectators – who roared him home as the 9-4 winner – and he has now regained number one spot in the Godolphin team.

Pre-race, Appleby had said future plans would be dictated by this result – regarding who would be the yard’s main Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe contender – and with a host of Group One winners behind him, the Newmarket trainer feels Adayar is the one to beat.

Appleby said: “First and foremost, I’m delighted for His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed)  in what was an historical event – it’s been 20 years since the great Galileo won the Derby and the King George, and the horse deserves all the plaudits he is getting.

Adayar pulling away from multiple Group One-winners Mishriff and Love
Adayar pulling away from multiple Group One-winners Mishriff and Love (Nigel French/PA)

“It was a good Derby-  as we already knew – and coming into today, we were confident he was in great form. The ground wasn’t a concern, because he’d won on good to firm. I wouldn’t have used the ground as an excuse if he’d lost.

“It was a fantastic ride by William (Buick), who did all the right things, and it was a good race. When the bell went coming into Swinley Bottom, he put himself in the firing line and galloped all the way to the line.

“It was a great race to watch, a great race to be part of and most importantly for His Highness and everyone at Moulton Paddocks a great result.”

As for his absence, like millions of people, Appleby had been “pinged” by the NHS App.

“It’s bit of a pain not to be there. I saw the horse Wednesday morning – and that was the last time I was able to get to the yard and that was when he did his last piece of work. Of course, you’d love to be there for those historical moments – but my job was done. I have a fantastic team around me.

“I said to William this morning, he’s a fantastic jockey and knows his horses, riding them out all the time. It’s unusual for me to ring him before races, but I spoke to him three times today.

“I told him to jump to make it because he’s not quick enough to make the running, but jump as if you wanted to. Stamina is his strong suit, and I was confident something would take it off us. He then rode the perfect race.”

The general consensus at Appleby’s yard before the Derby was that Hurricane Lane was number one, with Adayar likely to head for the St Leger.

How the tables have turned.

“Pre-Derby we were thinking St Leger for this horse, and I told William to ride him as if it he stays a mile and six,” added Appleby.

“The conversations will be had, regarding the future. We’ll have a definitive answer within the next week but right now I’d be thinking this horse will be aimed at the Arc, with maybe the Prix Niel before it. Hurricane Lane will head towards the St Leger, and if he wins that in a fashion that makes the Arc achievable as well, then we’ll regroup after that.

“I’d be disappointed if people didn’t think Adayar was the best mile-and-a-half horse around – he’s won what looked a strong King George.

“He had the allowance, but that is there for a reason. I was confident he wouldn’t look like a three-year-old among them today – and looking on the TV, he didn’t look like the junior.

“He deserves to hold the crown, and I’d be confident he could hold it for the foreseeable future.”

Adayar is mighty in King George victory

Derby hero Adayar cemented his superstar status with an impressive victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

Charlie Appleby’s charge was the first Epsom winner to follow up in the 12-furlong Group One since Galileo in 2001, with jockey William Buick saluting the crowd as he passed the post with a length and three-quarters to spare over Mishriff.

Love, winner of last year’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks for Aidan O’Brien, was sent off the 13-8 favourite – but had to settle for third, beaten a further length and three-quarters.

Her stablemate Broome slightly fluffed his lines with a tardy start, but he eventually made his way to the front, setting a sound gallop with Adayar racing keenly on his heels for Buick.

Adayar, a 9-4 chance, was clearly travelling well throughout – and when Buick made his move turning for home, the Frankel colt lengthened his stride to assume control and kick for the line.

Mishriff, who raced at the back of the five-runner field, made significant headway in the final couple of furlongs. But Adayar had flown and he galloped out right to the line to give Appleby a first King George win.

William Buick after Adayar's victory
William Buick after Adayar’s victory (Nigel French/PA)

Buick said: “He jumped better than expected, because the eventual leader missed the break and came round us – which set me alight a little – but I wasn’t worried once I backed off the leader as I was sat in shotgun and in a lovely rhythm.

“He had that kick at the top of the straight and then did what we saw at Epsom, that resolute gallop all the way to the line.

“We all thought he was a good Derby winner, and he’s confirmed that today.”

Appleby and Buick have also enjoyed major success with Epsom third Hurricane Lane – landing both the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris in recent weeks – and it is a purple patch that is not lost on the rider.

He added: “It feels amazing to ride these horses – they don’t come around very often, and I think I appreciate more these days. I think I showed that crossing the line! It’s great to win a King George on a Derby winner – it doesn’t happen very often. It’s 20 years since the last one.

“It’s great for Charlie too – he’s a great trainer.

“The horse is a consummate professional and has all the qualities of a top-class horse, that kick and the stamina. I really enjoyed that.”

Adayar on his way to King George glory
Adayar on his way to King George glory (Nigel French/PA)

Appleby was not at Ascot because he is completing a period of self-isolation after being pinged by the Covid-19 app – but the occasion was certainly not lost on him, even if he had to watch at home in Newmarket.

The Godolphin trainer said: “First and foremost, I’m delighted for His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) in what was a historical event – it’s been 20 years since the great Galileo won the Derby and the King George, and the horse deserves all the plaudits he is getting.

“It was a good Derby, as we already knew – and coming into today, we were confident he was in great form. The ground wasn’t a concern, because he’d won on good to firm. I wouldn’t have used the ground as an excuse if he’d lost.

“It’s bit of a pain not to be there. I saw the horse on Wednesday morning – that was the last time I was able to get to the yard, and that was when he did his last piece of work. Of course you’d love to be there for those historical moments. But my job was done – I have a fantastic team around me.”

Adayar is a general 5-1 chance for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and is also favourite for the Cazoo St Leger at Doncaster. But Appleby is leaning towards the ParisLongchamp showpiece with his Ascot victor, leaving Hurricane Lane to head to Town Moor.

He added: “The conversations will be had regarding the future. We’ll have a definitive answer within the next week, but right now I’d be thinking this horse will be aimed at the Arc – with maybe the Prix Niel before it.

“Hurricane Lane will head towards the St Leger, and if he wins that in a fashion that makes the Arc achievable as well, then we’ll regroup after that.”

John Gosden, who trains Mishriff in partnership with his son Thady, was satisfied with the effort of his runner-up, who was conceding weight to the winner.

He said: “It was a super race. I’ve always said, I’ve been lucky enough to win it with Nathaniel, Taghrooda and Enable as three-year-olds – they get a lot of weight.

“I said it again after the Eclipse when it was 10lb, and here it was 11lb. It’s a lot.

“Ours has run an absolute blinder, but the winner is a rapidly improving colt. I thought he looked magnificent in the pre-parade ring and I thought ‘Houston, we’re in trouble here’ – but ours ran a blinder, and we’ll go to the Juddmonte to take on another three-year-old and give more weight away!

“There’s nothing wrong with that, though. I love to see the three-year-olds against their elders.”

Adayar primed for King George battle with Love

In what seemed a golden era for Flat racing in the early 2000s, Godolphin took on Coolmore on a regular basis and when Love and Adayar clash in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, the two heavyweights will cross swords once more.

While it is far from a two-horse race – indeed five of the six runners are already Group One winners and the only one yet to bridge that gap, Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle, was a narrow runner-up in the Irish Derby – they nevertheless dominate the betting.

Adding to the sense of nostalgia is the fact that 20 years ago the subsequent supersire Galileo was the last Derby winner to take the race, a feat Adayar is attempting to emulate this weekend.

Adayar is by Frankel, Galileo’s greatest son, yet Galileo beat Fantastic Light, one of Godolphin’s all-time greats, but it will be Adayar sporting the famous blue silks this time.

Galileo (left) came out on top in a great tussle with Fantastic Light
Galileo (left) came out on top in a great tussle with Fantastic Light (Tim Ockenden/PA)

“We always felt, from 24 hours after the Derby, that we’d go to the King George because he’s a big individual who needs a gap between his races and it would give him time to develop,” said trainer Charlie Appleby, who has an embarrassment of riches among his three-year-olds.

“This season has gone fantastic. Going into the winter we felt we had a nice group of two-year-olds, without having had a Group One winner, but they had nice pedigrees and were nice individuals.

“We hoped as three-year-olds they would progress and they’ve duly obliged. They’ve been in great form all season, starting with Creative Force who progressed through handicaps to win the Jersey and run well in the July Cup.

“Then we had the likes of Hurricane Lane, Adayar and Yibir all campaigning in the trials. Some won, some ran very well but thankfully they progressed from their trials which is important.”

Most yards would love to have a runner in the Derby but unless you are Aidan O’Brien with a yard stocked full of Galileo’s offspring, actually having one is still an achievement. This year Appleby had three.

“The one race everybody wants to win is the Derby so that was the focus going into the spring. We hadn’t had a runner in the Derby since Masar (2018 winner). Thankfully as the years have gone on I’ve got a handle on what you need to compete at the top level. I never want to go to just make up the numbers,” he said.

“This year we felt we had the stamp of horse to be competitive, certainly going into the trials and His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) said through the winter to build towards the Derby and if we thought we had three, to run three.

“We started the spring with five potential Derby candidates and we ended up with three and they all ran very creditably finishing first, third (Hurricane Lane) and One Ruler was sixth.

“We had the conversation with Sheikh Mohammed before the Derby about running the three and I won’t run away from it, I felt the one horse who would be suited stepping up in trip was going to be Adayar and that he was more a St Leger horse. His Highness said that if he was fit and well to run, as the one thing you need to do is stay in the Derby.

Adam Kirby initially lost his ride in the Derby only to get the call up for Adayar
Adam Kirby initially lost his ride in the Derby only to get the call up for Adayar (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Hurricane Lane had won the Dante, he was an unbeaten son of Frankel, he was our number one and thankfully he’s justified where we thought he was in the pecking order – at the top. One Ruler had a question mark stepping up in trip but we had done it with Masar and he didn’t look out of place in the Derby.

“But, a few of the wise old heads fancied Adayar. He’d run in two trials and not done a lot wrong, he wasn’t beaten a long way in either and with the way the ground turned, he had to be a possible.

“He’s a gentle giant, you wouldn’t want him to throw his weight around as he’s a big lad, Josh (Crane) his rider from the spring onwards has done a fantastic job. His home work is no different to what it was prior to Epsom, he’s a nice, honest galloper who covers a lot of ground.”

It is rare for a Derby winner to run in the King George these days, though Enable and Taghrooda took advantage of the huge age and sex allowances as Oaks winners for John Gosden in recent years, but Appleby has always been pointing toward the midsummer showpiece.

“It’s going to be a fascinating race, we’ve discussed with His Highness where we place Hurricane Lane after his win in the Grand Prix de Paris and while it’s a cliché, we’re sitting on the fence waiting to see what Adayar does to see where these Classic horses go in the second half of the season,” said Appleby.

“I’m delighted with his preparation going into the race. There are six runners, it looks like there’s some pace and if you want to dig deep into form, Love is a deserved favourite. We’re second favourite and with the allowance, I think the market is about right. Love should be favourite but we should be bang there.

“Whoever wins it is king of the mile-and-a-half division for the foreseeable future.

“Year in year out, we always get told it wasn’t a classic Derby or the three-year-olds look weak but it always sorts itself out from the Eclipse onwards.

“When Masar won they questioned the strength of it, then Roaring Lion came out and won the Eclipse and the Juddmonte – I don’t know what more horses have to do sometimes.

“As it stands at the moment it looks a good Derby. He won by three and a half lengths and the third horse came out and won a Classic and the Grand Prix de Paris emphatically.

“It’s fantastic being part of these races, helping to produce the goods on the day is a great honour and he’s my first runner in the King George. More importantly he’s not just a runner, he’s a Derby winner. To win it, it would be a lovely feather to have in the cap.”

The field is completed by John and Thady Gosden’s Mishriff, Love’s stablemate Broome and David Menuisier’s Wonderful Tonight.

Six declared in classy King George

Hot favourite Love is set to face five rivals in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Last season’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks heroine made a successful return from 10 months off the track in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and is a warm order to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a fifth victory in this weekend’s midsummer showpiece.

The Ballydoyle handler will also saddle the ultra-consistent Broome, who has won four of his six starts this season and was last seen breaking his duck at the top level in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud three weeks ago.

Adayar winning the Cazoo Derby at Epsom
Adayar winning the Cazoo Derby at Epsom (John Walton/PA)

The opposition is headed by Charlie Appleby’s Derby hero Adayar.

The Frankel colt was a surprise winner of last month’s premier Classic, but the form has been significantly boosted by his stablemate Hurricane Lane, who has won both the Irish Derby and the Grand Prix de Paris since finishing third Epsom.

The other three-year-old in Saturday’s field is Martyn Meade’s Lone Eagle, who was beaten a neck into second by Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby four weeks ago.

David Menuisier has declared stable star Wonderful Tonight. The Newmarket-based Frenchman has expressed doubts about running his pride and joy on fast ground and will be hoping one of the forecast thunderstorms arrives in Berkshire.

The small but select field is completed by John and Thady Gosden’s Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic victor Mishriff.

The son of Make Believe can be expected to improve from his first start since his globetrotting exploits when third in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown three weeks ago.