Charlie Appleby confident of strong Adayar challenge in Champion Stakes

Charlie Appleby believes Adayar is back to his old self as he faces the huge task of taking down the unbeaten Baaeed in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Having created a piece of racing history last summer by becoming the first horse since Galileo in 2001 to win the Derby and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same season, it looked as though the world was his oyster.

His season ended on a down note, however, with defeats in heavy ground in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and just two weeks later in the Champion Stakes.

This year, after an early setback, he arrives as the freshest horse in the field off the back of just one win at Doncaster against two inferior rivals.

"I've been delighted with him," said Appleby. "His preparation has gone well and he goes to Ascot in great shape - in better shape than a year ago without a shadow of a doubt.

"We couldn't have been more pleased with the way he did it at Doncaster on his return to the track, or more importantly the way he's come out of it.

"We know we've got a big task ahead of us, taking on Baaeed, but he's 100 per cent the Adayar of old.

"We are relaxed about the ground. If it's decent ground then Baaeed will be hard to beat, but if it's testing we've got the experience in those conditions and we know he stays a mile and a half, so the stiff 10 furlongs will suit him.

"We've seen what this horse can do, he's a Derby winner and a King George winner.

"Last year we missed our prep for the Arc and then ran in the Arc on bottomless ground. Then the Champion came just two weeks later on soft ground again. He still put up a creditable performance (fifth), but going into it this year it is a different ball game."

Adayar had been in the frame for the Arc again, but Appleby added: "I've no regrets at all about missing the Arc. It was a great race to watch and I was delighted for Sir Mark (Prescott) and all of his team, but I've no regrets whatsoever about not running there."

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