Shadwell star Baaeed and Godolphin’s Derby hero Adayar clash headlines Champions Day

Dubai operation Godlphin have runners in all four Group 1 races at Ascot

Adayar, ridden by jockey William Buick, wins the Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster Conditions Stakes during The Cazoo St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse on September 8, 2022. PA
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While all eyes will be on Baaeed’s bid to bow out as an 11-time race winner, Godolphin have their own plot to challenge all four Group 1 prizes in the British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.

Godolphin’s 2021 Derby hero Adayar lines up with the Shadwell colt in the nine-runner Group 1 Champions Stakes in what is the highlight of the six-race card.

Adayar was an impressive winner of a Conditions race at Doncaster in September in his first run since finishing fifth in the Champions Stakes last year.

“Adayar is in great shape,” Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby said of the homebred Frankel colt, who became the first Derby winner in 20 years to claim the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes last year.

“We went to Doncaster for a Conditions race and we knew that it was never going to be like the field he will meet on Saturday, but he couldn’t have done it any easier.

“Most importantly, we got what we wanted out of the race for Adayar – he got all of his confidence back and didn’t have a hard race. When you have been off for as long as he had, you don’t want a hard first start and then there could be a bounce factor involved."

Appleby revealed Adayar has had harder home gallops than the race at Doncaster, and theoretically they are going into this weekend as his first start of the year against proper competition.

“We all know that Baaeed is going to be a huge challenge for him and a huge task, but we can’t be any happier with our horse,” he said.

“We have seen what Adayar can do – he is a Derby winner and a King George winner – and he looks in great shape.

“Last year, we missed our prep for the Arc and it was very testing on the day at Longchamp, in a race that wasn’t run to suit Adayar. We ended up being on the front – William [Buick] jumped well from a wide draw and got to the front – and missing the prep race probably told in the end.

“He came out of that race well enough and the decision was made to drop back to the 10 furlongs for the Champion Stakes and he ran like a horse whose previous start had gotten to him slightly.

“He still put up a creditable performance but going into it this year is a different ball game. We are going into it fresh and ready, and we are very much looking forward to it.”

Sheikha Hissa's imperious Baaeed has won all 10 of his previous races and bids to land a seventh successive Group 1 prize.

“We are excited and it’s good for racing to see two good horses take each other on – although they are not the only horses in the race and you can make cases for others,” Appleby added.

“It’s a great race collectively but Adayar taking on the great unbeaten Baaeed is exciting. Can we beat him? We are going there a fresher horse this year in conditions that we are quite relaxed about.

“It’s going to be a fantastic race and hopefully one that will go down in the history books as being one of the great races that we have seen over the past few years.”

Godolphin lines up last year’s Champion Sprint winner Creative Force and Naval Crown in the first of the four Group 1 races on the card.

Modern Games lines up in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Eternal Pearl, who arrives on the back of four victories, makes her Group 1 debut in the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes.

Updated: October 15, 2022, 3:40 AM