Adayar looking to get back on track at Ascot

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Derby and King George hero Adayar locks horns with the exciting Anmaat in an intriguing renewal of the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown on Friday. Adayar provided trainer Charlie Appleby with a second Derby success at Epsom two years ago, a victory he proved was no fluke by beating his elders in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Last season was not so smooth for the son of Frankel, he did not make his reappearance until dominating a couple of rivals in a Doncaster conditions race in September, after which he got closest to Bay Bridge in the Qipco Champion Stakes. With Appleby keen to add a 10-furlong Group One to the five-year-old's CV before he is retired to stud, he views this Group Three as an ideal starting point ahead of an intended appearance at Royal Ascot.

"We have been delighted with Adayar's preparation. He worked well in a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last week and it was always the plan to start him off here," he said on

"The ground is going to be testing and this is very much a prep race ahead of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, but he is the class horse in the field." The Moulton Paddocks handler also saddles Highland Avenue in a bid to ensure the four-runner contest does not develop into a tactical affair, adding: "Highland Avenue is a decent horse in his own right, having won the Feilden Stakes and run well on soft ground in the Heron Stakes as a three-year-old

"He will hopefully ensure that there is a decent gallop in the race." The biggest threat to Adayar is the Owen Burrows-trained Anmaat, who last season won the John Smith's Cup at York, the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock and the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend in Paris. The Awtaad gelding is saddled with a Group Two penalty for that latter victory, meaning he has to concede 5lb to Adayar despite being rated 3lb his inferior by the handicapper. Angus Gold, racing manager for owners Shadwell, said: "We're very much looking forward to seeing him run. He's got his work cut out, taking on a Derby winner, but we've got to start somewhere. "I don't know if he wants heavy ground, but a bit of ease won't do him any harm and Owen has been very happy with him as far as I know and it will be good to get him back in the swing of it. "We'll take it one race at a time, but that is obviously the plan in a perfect world, to make him a Group One winner. "He's an incredibly tough horse with a great attitude. I don't think he's going to want firm ground, so we'll be guided by the conditions as to whether to he's a mid-summer horse or not, but let's take it one step at a time and get this out of the way first." Sir Michael Stoute's Regal Reality, who won the Brigadier Gerard Stakes over the course and distance four years ago, is the only other runner.

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