William Buick talked of Adayar’s “endless power” after Charlie Appleby’s colt became the first Derby winner for 20 years to follow up in the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes here. Even from half a furlong away in the grandstand, it was possible for nearly 15,000 racegoers to sense what Buick was feeling through his reins.
Adayar hit the front at the top of the straight and once he had reached maximum speed there was never a moment when his stride threatened to shorten. Mishriff attempted to get alongside before Love, the 13-8 favourite, tried to summon a challenge to extend her winning streak in Group One contests to five.
It was a hopeless cause, however, as Adayar pounded relentlessly to the line to finish one-and-three-quarter lengths clear of Mishriff, with Love the same distance back in third.
Mishriff and Love were giving weight to the three-year-old Adayar and it was obvious as soon as he walked into the parade ring it may prove to be an impossible task.
“I was confident this horse would not look like a three-year-old among those horses,” said Appleby, who was watching at home after being pinged by the NHS Covid app on Wednesday. “Walking around the paddock, he didn’t look like the junior among the camp.”
He did not look like a three-year-old among his elders on the track, either. This was the sixth start of Adayar’s career and the colt who finished second on his first two starts of the year has now learned to channel his power through his huge frame to maximum effect.
“He’s a consummate professional,” Buick said. “He has all the qualities of a top-class middle-distance horse. He has the required pace and the kick and the stamina, and a fantastic will to win.
“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.”
1.10 Knotty Ash
2.15 Butte Montana
2.50 Neville’s Cross
3.25 Pinnacle Peak
4.00 Back On The Lash
5.00 Don’t Ask
1.55 Gnat Alley
2.30 Outback Boy
3.35 Where’s Jeff
4.40 Alpha Cru
4.20 Six Strings
4.45 May Blossom
5.15 Sound Of Iona (nap)
5.45 Rising Star (nb)
6.15 Lion Tower
6.40 Hint Of Stars
Having become the 14th Derby winner to follow up in the King George since Tulyar took the second running in 1952, Adayar is now likely to attempt to join an even more exclusive club by adding the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe to his three-year-old haul.
Only Mill Reef, in 1971, and Lammtarra, in 1995, have completed the treble and Adayar is around 5-1 second-favourite behind Snowfall, the Oaks winner, to land Europe’s showpiece middle-distance contest on 3 October.
The first prize of nearly £500,000 took Appleby into a clear lead over Aidan O’Brien in the Flat trainers’ championship and he also has Hurricane Lane, the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris winner, at his Moulton Paddocks stable just outside Newmarket.
“Conversations will have to be had and we’re in a very privileged position to have Hurricane Lane and Adayar the way they are,” he said. “I’ll give a more definitive answer within the next week, but the likelihood is that this horse will be aimed towards the Arc, maybe with the Prix Niel [three weeks beforehand] as a prep run.
“Hurricane Lane will head towards the St Leger [at Doncaster on 11 September] and if he happens to win a Leger in a fashion that means we feel the Arc is achievable, then we will regroup after that.”
Sunday’s TV tips, by Greg Wood
The first twilight meeting in the Sky Bet Sunday Series means a busy weekend for ITV Racing’s team, with the entire seven-race card from Musselburgh scheduled for coverage on ITV4 along with the Listed Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract.
The card builds towards the Stayers’ Handicap at 6.40, when Hint Of Stars is worth backing at around 7-2 to confirm his return to form at Yarmouth in June. That was his first start with Joe Fanning in the saddle, and the partnership is maintained on Sunday as the son of Sea The Stars steps up to 14 furlongs for the first time.
Musselburgh 3.55 No form to work with but Drawdown has plenty of speed in her pedigree and has two half-sisters who won as juveniles.
Pontefract 4.10 Regal Reality is an obvious favourite having run well in several Group Twos, but the odds may overestimate the amount he has in hand and Brunch, who is stepping up from handicaps, is an interesting alternative at around 4-1. Michael Dods’s gelding ran into traffic problems when seventh behind the dominant Real World in the Royal Hunt Cup.
Musselburgh 4.20 Six Strings has been edging up in the weights without winning since a success off 65 at Wetherby in early June, but a two-and-a-half length second at Ayr last time, when the winner got the first run, suggested that his current mark of 74 remains workable. Oisin McSweeney’s 3lb claim is helpful too.
Musselburgh 4.45 David O’Meara has given the handicapper plenty to work with before giving May Blossom a mark for her first start in a nursery, but 78 could still prove to be a little on the low side for a filly who ran in the Listed Marygate Stakes at York’s Dante meeting second time up. She dropped back to Sunday’s five-furlong trip to register a career-best at Beverley last time.
Musselburgh 5.15 Sound Of Iona could outrun an early price of around 16-1. Jim Goldie’s mare was a length and a half behind Good Luck Fox over track and trip two runs ago but is 8lb better off here, and has fared much better in the draw with a pitch in stall 14.
Musselburgh 5.45 Rising Star is progressing well and put up a career-best off Sunday’s mark of 85 on the July course at Newmarket last time.
Musselburgh 6.15 Grant Tuer has dispensed with the visor which seemed to coax an improved performance from Lion Tower at Carlisle last time, but he is still a clear pick on the balance of his form at around 9-2.