Newmarket gallop leaves Masar primed for Coral-Eclipse

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William Buick riding Masar to the winning post in the Epsom Derby

Derby winner Masar turned in a sparkling gallop on the July Course at Newmarket early Saturday in his final piece of serious work before the G1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on Saturday July 7.

With regular work rider Brett Doyle in the saddle, and in the company of two galloping companions, Masar drew clear in the final stages of a workout over seven furlongs.

“I was very pleased with that,” Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby said.

“That should have him spot on for Saturday,” he added. “It was nice building work. It was copybook, just as he had done prior to Epsom.

He pulled clear of African Jazz and Alqamar, who were the same horses he galloped with before the Derby.

“We came over to the racecourse for the ground. It has been so hot and dry here in Newmarket, and we wanted to get a galloping surface that enabled him to comfortably stretch out,” he explained.

“Brett (Doyle), who rides him all the time at home, was delighted the way he picked up, and also the way he covered the ground,” he reported.

William Buick, who will be aboard Masar again on Saturday, was an interested observer of the Derby winner’s final gallop before the Eclipse.

The Coral-Eclipse is an important race in the career of the Derby winner as he drops back in distance to a mile and a quarter — and he faces older opposition for the first time in his career.

It is a test that has proven beyond several accomplished Derby winners in recent times. Motivator was beaten in 2005, Authorized in 2007, while Workforce was beaten by Australian champion So You Think in an epic running of the Eclipse in 2011.

“It is never a foregone conclusion, the Eclipse,” Appleby said. “But we go there with a Derby winner, who is ready to take on the older horses.

“As a Sandown winner (G3 Solario Stakes), we know he likes the course, and he has done well since his win at Epsom.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is a sporting man, and he feels Masar, as a Derby winner, should be taking on the best horses around. If we are beaten on Saturday, we will take our hats off to a very good winner….for we know that Masar is very good,” the trainer added.

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Old Persian attempting to win first Irish Derby for Godolphin since 1994

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Godolphin has five strong European hopes this weekend, with runners at the Curragh, Newmarket and Longchamps.

First off three-year-old Old Persian will attempt to end Godolphin’s 24-year Irish Derby wait when he backs up only two weeks after his triumph in the King Edward VII at Royal Ascot.

He is one of 12 runners in this year’s Derby at the Curragh, and trainer Charlie Appleby is hopeful of a solid run from the son of Dubawi.

“He has pleased me since his win at Royal Ascot,” Appleby said.

“He is a colt with a progressive profile and the fact that the ‘win and you are in the Irish Derby’ clause was attached to the King Edward VII made us take a close look at it.”

Appleby is bidding to cap off the best month of his career after Masar’s victory in Epsom followed up with two winners at Ascot last week.

“It’s quite a quick turnaround, but we have been monitoring him closely all week, and I can report he is very well. He has eaten up, and he has regained the weight he lost running at Ascot,” the 45-year-old added.

William Buick, who won the 2015 Irish Derby on Jack Hobbs, will be aboard Old Persian once again.

Dee Ex Bee, second to Masar at Epsom, attempts to endorse the G1 Investec Derby form by again finishing ahead of Saxon Warrior, Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon.

Across in Newmarket, six-year-old Dutch Connection runs in the G3 Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs.

The sire of Dutch Art has had two outings so far in 2018, most recently coming home fourth to another Godolphin runner D’bai in the G3 John Of Gaunt Stakes over the same distance at Haydock Park earlier this month.

He began the year by finishing a solid fourth in Newbury last month and enjoyed his biggest victory in the seven-furlong G2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood in 2016.

Trainer Charlie Hills said: “The Criterion Stakes could be the race for Dutch Connection to get back on track.

“He had a hard race in the Lockinge, which might explain why he was a bit below par in the John Of Gaunt when fourth to D’bai.

“He is fit enough and hasn’t required any strong gallops since Haydock. He is giving off the right signals.”

In France at Longchamps, Inns Of Court and Jimmy Two Times line up in the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot over seven furlongs.

The pair, both trained by Andre Fabre, met in the G3 Prix du Palais-Royal over the same course and distance earlier this month, when Inns Of Court finishing runner-up with Jimmy Two Times a neck further back in third.

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has St Leger ambitions for Loxley

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby hopes Loxley can move nearer towards the William Hill St Leger by taking a step up in both class and trip in his stride in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket on July 12.

Appleby has earmarked the Group Three contest as the next target for the son of New Approach, who finished seventh in last year’s Racing Post Trophy and made a winning return in a novice contest at the July Course on Friday.

The Newmarket handler said: “I was pleased with that performance at Newmarket. I loved him as a two-year-old and I probably just threw him in at the deep end in the Racing Post Trophy.

“We went into Friday night’s race very confident the step up to a mile and a quarter would suit him well, which it did.

“I will be looking towards the Bahrain Trophy with him now and we will treat him as a horse that could go to the St Leger.”

Last year’s Duke of Edinburgh Stakes winner Rare Rhythm faces a spell on the sidelines after meeting with a setback which ruled him out of the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Appleby said: “Rare Rhythm has unfortunately had a setback and that is why he couldn’t take up his engagement in the Hardwicke.

“It is unlikely he will make the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket, either.”

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