Godolphin's Masar set to take on five in Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket

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Last year’s Investec Derby hero Masar will face five rivals in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

The New Approach colt became the first horse to carry the royal blue silks of Godolphin to victory in the premier Classic at Epsom last season, but a leg injury kept him off the track for the remainder of the campaign.

Charlie Appleby’s charge made his long-awaited return to action in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and was far from disgraced in finishing fifth.

Masar is likely to be a hot favourite to rediscover the winning trail almost three weeks later – despite having a shade over three lengths to find with Sir Michael Stoute’s Hardwicke Stakes third Mirage Dancer.

Mark Johnston saddles Baghdad – a narrow winner of the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at the Royal meeting – as well as Communique.

The Andrew Balding-trained Dashing Willoughby also lines-up on the back of a Royal Ascot victory, having landed the Queen’s Vase.

Desert Encounter from David Simcock’s yard completes the sextet.

The first race on the opening afternoon of Newmarket’s July Festival is the Group Three Bahrain Trophy – a recognised trial for the St Leger.

John Gosden relies on Waldstern to provide him with a record sixth victory in the one-mile-five-furlong contest, while Irish hopes are carried by Aidan O’Brien’s Queen’s Vase runner-up Barbados.

Other hopefuls in a nine-strong field include Michael Bell’s Eagles By Day, Johnston’s Nayef Road and Simcock’s Spanish Mission.

Johnston’s Visinari is the potential star attraction in the Group Two Tattersalls July Stakes.

The son of Dark Angel created a huge impression when making a successful racecourse debut over this course and distance last month and will be well fancied to follow up – with Frankie Dettori taking over in the saddle from Ryan Moore.

The standard is set by Archie Watson’s Guildsman – who was beaten just three-quarters of a length into third in the Coventry Stakes on his latest appearance.

O’Brien’s pair of King Neptune and Royal Lytham, Saeed bin Suroor’s Windsor Castle runner-up Platinum Star and Karl Burke’s Carlisle scorer Classy Moon are also in the mix.

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Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor to step Final Song up but next target undecided

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Godolphin star Final Song will step up in trip for her next start – but where that will be has still to be decided.

Saeed bin Suroor was in two minds whether to run the filly in the Albany Stakes over six furlongs, but stuck to the minimum distance at the Royal meeting.

She fairly flew home for third behind Raffle Prize, suggesting an extra furlong would be well within her grasp.

Currently Final Song holds Group One engagements in the Phoenix Stakes, the Moyglare and the National Stakes, all in Ireland.

“There’s no plans at the moment. We were pleased with her at Ascot and she came out of the race well,” said Bin Suroor.

“She’s healthy, happy and fresh and we’ll step her up in trip – she needs further.

“She’s a nice filly, I like the way she finished her race and she looks like she’s going to be a nice filly for the future.

“We’ve put her in a few races just to have a look. I want to see her work next time before deciding where she goes.”

Bin Suroor’s Royal Meeting was last seen beating dual Guineas winner Hermosa in France, but has not been in action yet this season, with the end of next month being mooted as a comeback.

“Royal Meeting is back in training and will hopefully run by the end of August. We’ve been planning for the second half of the season,” said Bin Suroor.

“He’s doing good now and he’s going to be a horse for the future, so we’ll look at Group races for him.

“We’ll probably take him out to Dubai. It’s frustrating we haven’t been able to run him, it only seems to happen to the good horses.”

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby hoping to have Quorto back for autumn campaign

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby hopes to have unbeaten Group One winner Quorto back from his setback in time for an autumn campaign.

The Dubawi colt has been out of action so far this year after sustaining a soft-tissue injury in March during his build-up to the 2000 Guineas at a winter training camp in Dubai.

After backing up his debut victory over Newmarket’s July Course at the same track in the Group Two Superlative Stakes, Quorto ended his juvenile campaign by defeating subsequent Epsom Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck on his first start at the top level in the Curragh’s National Stakes in September.

Appleby reports Quorto, as with last year’s Derby winner Masar who recently returned to the track at Royal Ascot after injury, is being brought back to full fitness steadily.

The Newmarket trainer said: “He has gone through a similar programme to what Masar did – but hopefully he won’t take as long as Masar did.

“He started the recovery early in his three-year-old career, and the plan will be to try and get him out late summer.”

Appleby is optimistic that all is currently going to plan for a return this season.

“If we can keep meeting the targets we are meeting at the moment then there is a live chance of that happening,” he said.

“Goodwood would be too soon. I’d say we would be looking at late summer (or) early autumn for him. If we can get a run or two into him as a three-year-old that would be great.”

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