Ground conditions at ParisLongchamp are likely to be the deciding factor as to whether Adayar has a second crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday week, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Last year’s Derby and King George hero was beaten just under four lengths into fourth place in Europe’s premier middle-distance contest 12 months ago, before rounding off his three-year-old campaign with a disappointing fifth in the Champion Stakes just under a fortnight later.
An intended return at Royal Ascot failed to come to fruition and after subsequently being ruled out of the Eclipse at Sandown and a defence of his King George crown, he eventually made his comeback in a three-runner conditions race at Doncaster earlier this month – proving a different class to his two rivals.
In the immediate aftermath trainer Charlie Appleby was leaning towards the Champion Stakes as his end-of-season target, but he could yet return to Paris if conditions look like being in his favour.
Speaking at Newmarket on Thursday, the Moulton Paddocks handler said: “It’s most likely Adayar is going to work on Saturday and if we’re happy with that work we will then leave him in the Arc on Monday and take a look at it then.
“We’ll keep an eye on the ground. We know what it can be like (at ParisLongchamp) and I don’t want him to have to encounter what he went through last year.
“Admittedly the race wasn’t run to suit us – we ended up on the lead where we didn’t want to be – but it was very testing conditions and then we backed him up on Champions Day.
“The mindset is still Champions Day, but if the Arc comes up as being sensible ground, we know at this time of year you’re going to have to go where the ground is because every day it can change.
“If I was going to say we’ll wait for Champions Day and all of a sudden it’s bottomless there, I’ll be kicking myself that I’ve potentially missed an opportunity of running in the Arc on decent ground.”
Since Adayar’s Doncaster triumph, connections of the brilliant Baaeed have confirmed their intention to crown his unbeaten career in the Champion Stakes, rather than taking their chance in the Arc.
When asked if that decision will have a bearing on Adayar’s plans, Appleby added: “Not really. You do what is best for the horse at the end of the day. The Baaeed team are doing what they feel is right for their horse and we’ll do what’s right for Adayar.
“We’ll go where the ground is right and if it’s better ground or we’re going to get sensible ground in the Arc, the likelihood is we’ll probably take our chance. If it’s not, we’ll wait and gamble on what we’re going to encounter on Champions Day.”
Appleby feels Adayar’s Doncaster romp has filled the colt with renewed confidence.
He said: “He looks great. Everyone was very pleased with the manner in which he did it at Doncaster and he’s come out of there thinking he’s King Kong again, and that’s what you need.
“He finished last season off with two gruelling races in the Arc and on Champions Day and it takes a lot for a horse sometimes to come back from it.
“He’s got his mojo 110 per cent now. He’s back to how he was when he won the Derby, if not better.”
One Appleby star who will not be returning to the Arc is last year’s third Hurricane Lane.
Like Adayar a son of Frankel, he has only run twice since being beaten three-quarters of a length in Paris last year and has been off the track since disappointing in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in July.
“He’s probably not going to be in the equation, to be honest,” Appleby added. “I feel for him in that we encountered quick ground during the summer. The first run (at Royal Ascot) we got away with it and on his second run, we didn’t think we’d get the conditions we unfortunately ran on in the end and it didn’t help his cause.
“I backed right off him and what he’s encountered hasn’t helped us in preparation for an Arc.”