Godolphin's Epsom Derby hero Masar handed Eclipse aim at Sandown

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Epsom Derby hero Masar will drop back in distance for next month’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown rather than bid for a Classic double in the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed the Godolphin colt will drop back to 10 furlongs for the Group One on July 7, with the son of New Approach already having won at the Esher track as a juvenile.

He will, however, need to be supplemented for the Sandown race.

“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 said.

“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 (the Solario Stakes), showing that he acts well on the track and dropping back in trip will be no problem – he won the Craven Stakes and finished third in the 2000 Guineas. He’s got plenty of speed.”

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Godolphin's D’bai strikes in G3 John of Gaunt Stakes

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D’bai gained a first G3 success with a brave display in the John of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs at Haydock Park, UK on Saturday.

The four-year-old son of Dubawi, runner-up in the six-furlong Listed Leisure Stakes on his European return at Windsor on 21 May, was settled in fourth of the seven runners early on by William Buick.

D’bai, trained by Charlie Appleby, quickened smartly to take the lead entering the final furlong and gamely saw off the late challenges of Larchmont Lad and Tabarrak to prevail by a head in 1m 28.24s on good to firm ground.

Godolphin’s other runner Dutch Connection (Charlie Hills/James Doyle) kept on to come home a clear fourth.

Charlie Appleby said: “D’bai travelled very well today and really put his head down when he had to.

“He holds an entry in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6f, 23 June) at Royal Ascot and we will keep the race on our radar, but he could also head for the G2 Lennox Stakes (7f, 31 July) at Goodwood.

“D’bai is a G3 winner over seven furlongs now, so it seems logical to keep him over the same distance, but the way he travels in his races suggests that a fast-run six furlongs could be right up his street.

“We will see how he comes out of the race and talk things over but I am delighted that he has won a G3 race.”

William Buick added: “D’bai is a very talented horse. He had a good winter in Dubai, winning a seven-furlong handicap, and things just didn’t go right for him in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort out there.

“Charlie used the race at Windsor as a prep for this and it has worked out nicely. He travelled really well throughout the race – I would have liked to have another horse to follow and been able to wait a little longer, but he stuck on well.”

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Breeders' Cup Classic the main aim for Godolphin's Thunder Snow

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Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is considering options for Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow on the way to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The four-year-old, who has won a Group One in all three of his racing seasons, produced a superb front-running performance at Meydan in March to shock American favourite West Coast, and has since enjoyed a well-deserved break.

The Emirati said: “The horse had a hard race in Dubai, but he is doing well and the Breeders’ Cup Classic is the long-term aim. We’ll try to find one or two races for him beforehand.

“The Jacques le Marois is a possible and the Belmont Jockey Club Gold Cup, then hopefully on to the Classic, as that is the main objective.”

Bin Suroor also had news of Benbatl, winner of the Dubai Turf on World Cup night.

He said: “Benbatl is doing well since winning the Grade One in Dubai.

“We will get him ready for Royal Ascot, and he will go for the Queen Anne, as a stiff mile will suit him.”

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