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Picture: Adayar wins the Derby last year (

Last year’s Derby hero has only run once this season.

William Buick is under no illusions about the task facing Adayar as he prepares for a mouthwatering clash with the brilliant Baaeed in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Winner of last year’s Derby at Epsom and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, Charlie Appleby’s Adayar has missed much of the current campaign, but looked as good as ever when slamming two admittedly inferior rivals on his belated reappearance at Doncaster last month.

The four-year-old will have far more on his plate next Saturday, of course, with the William Haggas-trained Baaeed out to put the seal on an unbeaten career before being retired to stud.

Buick – who will officially be crowned champion jockey for the first time on the same afternoon – is hopeful Adayar can at least give Flat racing’s current superstar a run for his money.

He said: “Doncaster was perfect for Adayar as a comeback run. He did everything right and he’s a bit of a forgotten horse this year, but he was very good last year.

“It’s a tough task (taking on Baaeed), but he’s a Derby and King George winner, and then he ran well in the Arc on ground he didn’t like and things didn’t really go his way, then the Champion Stakes probably came a bit soon after that.

“I would say he’s the best horse Baaeed has taken on and it’s going to make a great race.”

Buick has chased home Baaeed on a few occasions this season, perhaps most notably finishing second to him aboard Modern Games in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Asked how he will go about lowering his colours, Buick added: “You have to wait until the fields are out and the draw and everything else and then you sit down and make a plan.

“Obviously Baaeed looks very straightforward and has done it from every which way, from a mile to a mile and a quarter. We have no qualms about the task ahead, but it’s a horse race.”

The result of the Champion Stakes is likely to have a huge bearing on the who will be crowned champion trainer, with reigning champion Appleby currently holding a relatively slender advantage over Haggas, who is bidding for his first title.

“Charlie was champion trainer last year and it would be great to do it again this year,” said Buick.