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 1,000 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.
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 to, 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.”
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.”