December 5, 2023

Adayar repels elders, earns BC Turf berth in King George

Logo courtesy of Breeders' Cup

Adayar ended a cold streak for the classic generation in Saturday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. (G1) at Ascot, becoming the first three-year-old since Galileo in 2001 to win England’s most prestigious weight-for-age, middle-distance test.

The Godolphin homebred, coming off an upset victory in last month’s Epsom Derby (G1), started as the 9-4 second choice against four rivals in the 1 1/2-mile fixture. Overtaken by a slow-starting Broome through the opening quarter-mile, Adayar traveled alongside fellow three-year-old Lone Eagle in behind the leader until advancing into a clear second behind the pacesetter approaching Swinley Bottom.

Taking aim at Broome entering the straight, Adayar met little resistance from that older foe and took the lead. Making a bid from the tail of the field was Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) winner Mishriff, who tried to get on even terms with Adayar, but couldn’t do so. The Ballydoyle filly Love, favored at 13-8, couldn’t match either of those rivals and was flat through the stretch.

Ridden by William Buick for trainer Charlie Appleby, Adayar won by 1 3/4 lengths from Mishriff, who had the same margin on Love. Broome nosed out Lone Eagle for fourth, six lengths behind Love. Wonderful Tonight was withdrawn several hours before due to the good-to-firm ground.

The final time was 2:26.54, and Adayar paid $7.20 on the pari-mutuel pool.

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

The King George served as a “Win & You’re In” prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar in November, but a trip or two to France this fall will be a more immediate target for Adayar, according to Appleby.

“The conversations will be had regarding the future,” Appleby said. “We’ll have a definitive answer within the next week, but right now I’d be thinking this horse will be aimed at the (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe [G1]) – with maybe the Prix Niel (G2) before it.

This was the third win in six starts for Adayar, who was a debut fourth before returning two weeks later to break his maiden by nine lengths. Both races were at Nottingham last October.

Prior to his 4 1/2-length Derby upset at odds of 16-1, Adayar finished second in both the Classic Trial (G3) at Sandown and the Lingfield Derby Trial.

Bred in Ireland, Adayar is by Frankel and was produced by the Dubawi mare Anna Salai, a Group 3 winner in France who also placed in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1).