Derby hero Adayar cemented his superstar status with an impressive victory in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.
Charlie Appleby’s charge was the first Epsom winner to follow up in the 12-furlong Group One since Galileo in 2001, with jockey William Buick saluting the crowd as he passed the post with a length and three-quarters to spare over Mishriff.
Love, winner of last year’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks for Aidan O’Brien, was sent off the 13-8 favourite – but had to settle for third, beaten a further length and three-quarters.
Her stablemate Broome slightly fluffed his lines with a tardy start, but he eventually made his way to the front, setting a sound gallop with Adayar racing keenly on his heels for Buick.
Adayar, a 9-4 chance, was clearly travelling well throughout – and when Buick made his move turning for home, the Frankel colt lengthened his stride to assume control and kick for the line.
Mishriff, who raced at the back of the five-runner field, made significant headway in the final couple of furlongs. But Adayar had flown and he galloped out right to the line to give Appleby a first King George win.
Buick said: “He jumped better than expected, because the eventual leader missed the break and came round us – which set me alight a little – but I wasn’t worried once I backed off the leader as I was sat in shotgun and in a lovely rhythm.
“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.” Appleby and Buick have also enjoyed major success with Epsom third Hurricane Lane – landing both the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris in recent weeks – and it is a purple patch that is not lost on the rider.
He added: “It feels amazing to ride these horses – they don’t come around very often, and I think I appreciate more these days. I think I showed that crossing the line! It’s great to win a King George on a Derby winner – it doesn’t happen very often. It’s 20 years since the last one.
“It’s great for Charlie too – he’s a great trainer.
“The horse is a consummate professional and has all the qualities of a top-class horse, that kick and the stamina. I really enjoyed that.”