A number of Champion Stakes contenders have upcoming engagements which will go a long way to determining the cast for the showpiece event on Qipco British Champions Day.
Vadeni, Adayar, Mishriff, Luxembourg and Baaeed will all be in action before the big race at Ascot on October 15, after which further plans will become clearer.
The next port of call for the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Vadeni after his Eclipse victory is the Irish Champion Stakes on September 10.
Georges Rimaud, racing manager to the Aga Khan, said: “Vadeni is entered in the Qipco Champion Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes. The Arc has not been on his calendar. Jean-Claude thinks he is more of a 10-furlong horse.
“He has been very well since the Eclipse and has now started his serious work in preparation for September 10. We are taking things one race at a time. How he performs in the Irish Champion Stakes will help us decide what is the next step.”
Baaeed and Mishriff are set to meet in the Juddmonte International at York on August 17. Depending on how he goes on the Knavesmire, the unbeaten Baaeed could line up in the Champion Stakes or the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile. Talk of whether he is the next Frankel continues unabated, but none of that fazes trainer William Haggas.
Asked how close he might be rated to Sir Henry Cecil’s giant when the time comes to retire, he said: “It doesn’t bother me.
“I don’t think you can compare the two horses. For me, Sea The Stars was just as good as Frankel but he did it in a different way. He won them all from the Guineas to the Arc and if he’d stayed in training he’d have won them all again, apart from the three-year-olds only races.
“Like Sea The Stars, Baaeed is not flash but he gets the job done. He doesn’t pull, doesn’t have to get a lead, just travels away and comes there cantering when the others are all off the bridle. He just keeps winning and he’s got gears. He takes it all in his stride and that makes it easy for us. He’s fantastic.”
Mishriff looked unlucky in the Eclipse and his chance in the King George was not helped when he was slowly away from the stalls. He ran in both races in 2021 before producing a brilliant display at York.
Joint-trainer Thady Gosden said: “Mishriff will run in the Juddmonte again first, but he’s run in the Qipco Champion Stakes the last two years. There are a lot of variables and we’ll see how he is after York and what the ground is like.
“Lord North likes the track and also ran in the Qipco Champion Stakes last year. He had a busy enough start to the year, running in Dubai, so he’s having a bit of a break, but it’s definitely an option.
“With Nashwa it’s just a case of leaving our options open. She’s done really well obviously and she’s kept on improving, winning the Diane and the Nassau since not quite getting home in the Oaks. The intention is to keep her against fillies this year, but it’s good to have the Qipco Champion Stakes option.”
Aidan O’Brien is looking towards the Irish Champion for Luxembourg, who has been on the sidelines since finishing third in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The Ballydoyle handler said: “The plan is for Luxembourg to start back in the Royal Whip here in a few weeks. The next plan after that is that he will go for the Irish Champion Stakes.”
Winner of last year’s Derby and King George, Adayar has not run since finishing fifth in the Champion Stakes 12 months ago.
“I was delighted with Adayar last week when he had his first easy piece of work. He’ll probably run in the September Stakes (at Kempton) first, hopefully as a prep for Qipco British Champions Day,” said his trainer Charlie Appleby.
“We can make a call after the September Stakes about the Arc, but the Qipco Champion Stakes interests me. The Arc will most likely be run in soft ground, which is not to his liking, but the gamble will be on what the ground will be like come Champions Day. We’ll see.”
He added: “I’ve been wanting all year to drop him back to a mile and a quarter and I think it’s well within his compass to do it at that level. It will be good for him. Personally I’d love to see him at a mile and a quarter, but that’s me talking, not the horse.
“The most important thing is that we are now seeing the Adayar again that we were seeing in March. He’s back in good order and it’s exciting.”
Appleby also has Native Trail in the race, and added: “With Coroebus missing the Sussex Stakes the plan is for him to go to the Jacques le Marois, which was going to be Native Trail’s race. We’ll make a decision nearer the time – the team might want to run them both – but I see no reason why Native Trail couldn’t run in the Juddmonte.
“Native Trail didn’t not stay in the Eclipse. He was outstayed by good horses who will probably go on and do well at a mile and a half. He is in great order – he’s walking around on two legs! He’s entered in both the QEII and the Qipco Champion Stakes.”