Godolphin‘s Twilight Payment finished third in the 14-furlong G2 Curragh Cup at the Curragh on Sunday, despite not being suited by the fast ground.
The sire of Teofilo, trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning, raced in third of the seven runners on the inside and after a half-mile was fourth.
The five-year-old wandered around when trying to make a challenge in the straight and was one-paced in the final furlong, going down by four and three quarter lengths to the winner Flag Of Honour whose time was 3m 2.46s on going described as good to firm.
Jimmy Hyland of Godolphin said: “Twilight Payment has run well again, but he did not enjoy the fast ground.
“He wandered around and became unbalanced on it. He wants slower ground.”
Godolphin‘s Inns Of Court and Jimmy Two Times finished second and third in the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot over seven furlongs at Longchamp in France on Saturday.
The two Andre Fabre-trained runners were held up and raced second last and last of the six runners.
Four-year-old Inns Of Court, partnered by Pierre-Charles Boudot, moved up smoothly on the inner in the straight to take the lead inside the final furlong, but was soon swamped by Efaadah who quickened clear to win by a length and a quarter in 1m 20.29s on ground described as good.
Five-year-old Jimmy Two Times, with Vincent Cheminaud up, chased the rest of field before making late headway to gain third close home, another length and a quarter behind his stable companion.
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said: “Inns Of Court looked like he was going to win but then flattened out, while Jimmy Two Times lacked sparkle so it was a disappointing race all round.”
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.