Frankel's Adayar Wins The King George


Adayar becomes the first Derby winner since Galileo to win the King George |


Saturday's G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco S. at Ascot may have been whittled down to just five following the withdrawal of Wonderful Tonight (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), but it will be remembered as one of the finest renewals since the turn of the century as the G1 Epsom Derby hero Adayar (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) became the first since Galileo (Ire) to bring up the cherished double. Placed prominently and racing freely early for William Buick as the slow-starting Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) was gradually cajoled to the front, the 9-4 second favourite was committed at the top of the straight before being joined by Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) soon after. Their tussle was pulsating but brief, as the Godolphin hulk asserted his dominance on the rain-starved surface for a decisive 1 3/4-length success, with the 13-8 favourite Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) the same margin away in third. “He was a great Derby winner and these horses don't come around very often–he just gives you the feeling of endless power,” Buick said. “This is what I dreamt of from when I was a young boy and it's a privilege to be able to ride these horses. Charlie and Sheikh Mohammed were adamant that the ground wasn't an issue for him and good horses can adapt. It was a very simple race to ride once he'd dropped his head and when I picked him up he was instant and then relentless to the line.”

It was not until mid-October that Adayar appeared and when he stayed on into fourth from rear over an extended mile at Nottingham it was a textbook case of a big baby needing racing experience. What came next was a surprise given his physical stature, as the imposing bay was back over the same course and distance a fortnight later to show rapid improvement and win by nine lengths. Aptly, that storming performance through soft ground came in the “Golden Horn” Maiden named after the budding Oppenheimer celebrity who had scored by a head on his debut there in 2014 but few would have dared believe the same contest would churn out another blue riband hero so soon.

On his return in the 10-furlong G3 Sandown Classic Trial Apr. 23, Adayar sported the red cap as the third colour option and caught the eye staying on from behind when second to Alenquer (Fr) (Adlerflug {Ger}) with Lone Eagle (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) well back. Given extra credence given that there appeared to be a front-running bias that day, he was a 6-5 favourite sent to the May 8 Listed Lingfield Derby Trial and despite looking to give his running failed to reel in Third Realm (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}).  That dampened the enthusiasm surrounding him and as the Derby loomed, the promise of his Sandown effort had been largely forgotten in the excitement generated by his stable's Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), the red-hot Irish contingent Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) and the race's big story John Leeper (Ire) (Frankel {GB}). Even Appleby himself was ready to set him aside as one for the St Leger, but with Sheikh Mohammed forcing the issue he was in the line-up to give what many considered to be a conciliatory but probably fruitless ride for Adam Kirby after he was jettisoned by connections of John Leeper.

What followed was remarkable, as Adayar overcame the one draw which had not seen a Derby winner since 1999 to explode on to the front pages with a victory margin of 4 1/2 lengths. That was the sixth-largest winning distance in the race since 1992, but there remained doubts as to its merit with the maiden Mojo Star (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) following him home and talk of him enjoying a favoured strip of ground on the rail. Interestingly, the Derby winners who had won by as far or further than him since 1979 and came here afterwards were Troy (GB), Shergar (GB), Nashwan, Generous (Ire) and Workforce (GB) and only the latter had failed to follow up.

As barely any rain made it to Ascot to counter the forecast, the lack of maintenance watering was the biggest concern for his supporters with this being by far the fastest ground he had encountered in his career. It may have been the slick surface as well as the inevitable freshness of a 49-day break that caused Adayar to show so much zest as he took on Lone Eagle on the front and in turn lit up the Meade runner. Remaining a touch headstrong even as Wayne Lordan eventually steered the lethargic Broome around runners to head them off, the winner took until Swinley Bottom after the first half a mile to lower his head and find a perfect equilibrium and from there Buick's body language told all the story. David Egan had Mishriff firmly anchored in last conserving energy throughout the early stages and so if the effort of Adayar's early exertions were to tell the pinchpoint would surely come as he launched the Gosdens' international pioneer on the turn for home.

Mishriff's wide move denied Ryan Moore a clear run on Love, but it was only for a fraction of a second and the chestnut had ample time to unwind but the two pacier rivals were already gone. Mishriff's sharpener in the Eclipse meant he had more to say on this occasion, but the Godolphin giant was not for stopping in the final furlong with the merciless Frankel stride in full effect. Only his sire's second runner in this contest and the first as one of the favourites, Adayar has inherited that ability to churn out a wattage that is unique. “Endless power”, as Buick described it, was the telling factor in a vintage renewal.

“He jumped better than I expected and the eventual leader missed the break and came around us and set my horse alight a little bit,” Buick added. “Turning into the straight he just filled himself up again and off he went. He's a very big horse. When he was younger he wasn't quite sure how to channel all his power, but he's learned how to use himself now. He's an amazing horse to ride. We'll enjoy today and Charlie will speak to His Highness and they'll come up with a plan for the horse. I would say that one eye would be on the Arc in the autumn for sure. It was a brilliant King George, it had everything. It was an excellent renewal. It was what the King George is all about. It means everything. It's a huge team behind it all. I'm grateful to everyone who puts all of the work in at home.”

For Charlie Appleby, the day was one to savour from afar as he was forced to self-isolate having received the dreaded ping on his Covid-19 app. “We are delighted for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, everyone at Moulton Paddocks and team Godolphin,” he said in typically humble fashion. “I didn't expect to be out of the first three going into to the race, because of the 3-year-old weight allowance and I also felt that Adayar was a very good horse. Adayar has defied history by becoming the first horse since Galileo to win the Derby and this race and it's fitting that his grandson has managed the feat.”

“I would imagine that we will work backwards from the [Oct. 3] Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with him now. As things stand at this moment, I would say that Hurricane Lane would more likely go down the [Sept. 11] St Leger/Arc route and Adayar will potentially go for the [Sept. 12 G2] Prix Niel before the Arc itself,” he added. “We are all looking for that star horse, the next Enable or Frankel. Hopefully, Adayar or Hurricane Lane can pick up that mantle and carry the flag.”

John Gosden was delighted with the performance of Mishriff, who was handing the winner a mighty weight-for-age advantage, and the significance of that was not lost on him. “It was a super race. I've been lucky enough to win it with Nathaniel, Taghrooda and Enable as 3-year-olds and they get a lot of weight,” he commented. “I said it again after the Eclipse when it was 10 pounds and here it was 11–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'! We'll go to the [Aug. 18 G1] Juddmonte [International at York] to take on another 3-year-old and give more weight away! There's nothing wrong with that, though, I love to see the 3-year-olds against their elders.”

Representing the Frankel-Dubawi cross that looks to be emerging as rare alchemy, Adayar is out of the G3 Prix de la Grotte winner and G1 Irish 1000 Guineas runner-up Anna Salai (Dubawi {Ire}) from a family steeped in prestige. The second dam is the G3 Prix d'Aumale winner Anna Palariva (Ire) (Caerleon), who produced the four-times listed-winning and G3 La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte runner-up Advice (GB) (Seeking the Gold), the Listed Surrey S. winner Iguazu Falls (Pivotal {GB}) and the dam of the G1 Grand Criterium-winning sire National Defense (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}). Anna Palariva is a daughter of the G3 Park Hill S. winner Anna of Saxony (GB) (Ela-Mana-Mou {Ire}), whose other descendants include the GI Flower Bowl Invitational heroine Ave (GB) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}).

Anna of Saxony is kin to the G2 Prix de Royallieu winner Annaba (Ire) (In the Wings {GB}), who is in turn the third dam of this year's G2 Diana-Trial scorer Amazing Grace (Ger) (Protectionist {Ger}), is a granddaughter of the G2 Preis der Diana-winning champion and blue hen Anna Paola (Ger) (Prince Ippi {Ger}). Among her descendants are the group 1-winning sires Epaulette (Aus) and Helmet (Aus), the G1 1000 Guineas and G1 Sun Chariot S. heroine Billesdon Brook (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) and the G1 Premio Vittorio di Capua and runaway G2 German 1000 Guineas heroine Anna Monda (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}). Anna Salai's unraced 2-year-old filly by Teofilo (Ire) is named Bedouin Queen (GB), while she also has a yearling full-brother to Adayar and a filly foal by Helmet's sire Exceed and Excel (Aus).

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
KING GEORGE VI & QUEEN ELIZABETH QIPCO S.-G1, £875,000, Ascot, 7-24, 3yo/up, 11f 211yT, 2:26.54, g/f.
1–ADAYAR (IRE), 122, c, 3, by Frankel (GB)
1st Dam: Anna Salai (GSW-Fr, G1SP-Ire & SP-Eng, $158,818), by Dubawi (Ire)
2nd Dam: Anna Palariva (Ire), by Caerleon
3rd Dam: Anna of Saxony (GB), by Ela-Mana-Mou (Ire)
O/B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick. £496,213. Lifetime Record: 6-3-2-0, $1,627,749. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Mishriff (Ire), 133, c, 4, Make Believe (GB)–Contradict (GB), by Raven's Pass. O-Prince A A Faisal; B-Nawara Stud Ltd (IRE); T-John & Thady Gosden. £188,125.
3–Love (Ire), 130, f, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Pikaboo (GB), by Pivotal (GB). O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Coolmore (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien. £94,150.
Margins: 1 3/4, 1 3/4, 6. Odds: 2.25, 6.50, 1.63.
Also Ran: Broome (Ire), Lone Eagle (Ire). Scratched: Wonderful Tonight (Fr). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by TVG.

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