Although many people believed Masar was more likely to go next for the Tattersalls Irish Derby, Charlie Appleby’s impressive Investec Derby hero will instead head to Sandown on July 7th for the Group 1 Coral Eclipse Stakes.
The New Approach colt, who runs in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, produced a memorable performance under William Buick to brush aside the odds-on favourite Saxon Warrior before going on to beat Dee Ex Bee and Roaring Lion in great style at Epsom over a mile-and-a-half. Earlier in the season he ran away withthe one mile Group 3 Craven Stakes, scoring by a massive nine lengths before going on to finish third in the Qipco 2000 Guineas behind Saxon Warrior.
“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and I discussed Masar’s programme at length and have reached the conclusion that the Eclipse will suit him best,” Appleby told reporters. “We will leave him in the Irish Derby, just to keep all options open. But the intention is to run in the Eclipse.
“Masar has won at Sandown [last season’s Solario Stakes], showing that he acts well on the track, and dropping back in trip will be no problem. He’s got plenty of speed.”
Although he doesn’t hold an entry in the 10 furlong Eclipse Stakes, the option to supplement into the race is there and will be taken by Godolphin. Lying behind the decision to drop back to the 10 furlong trip and take on older horses could be a wish to try and further appeal to breeders, who might prefer to breed to a horse with a Group 1 win over 10 furlongs to his name – not just at 12 furlongs. While he appears to be in the form of his life it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that the decision to got to Sandown has been taken.
Masar is now a 2/1 market leader with Sky Bet for the Eclipse, ahead of Roaring Lion (3/1 with Ladbrokes), and Saxon Warrior (8/1 with Bet365), although the latter seems most likely to head to the Curragh to tackle the Irish Derby on June 30 for which he is now a top priced 4/6 chance with Paddy Power, following the news that Masar is unlikely to line up against him.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.