Godolphin's Al Dabaran preserves unbeaten record with Ascot success

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Al Dabaran took his unbeaten career record to two out of two with a tenacious win in Ascot’s Wooldridge Group Pat Eddery Stakes.

Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin colt appeared sure to have to settle for second to Sun Power as the latter held a length lead approaching the final furlong of the Listed event, registered as the Winkfield Stakes.

But Al Dabaran, previously successful in a Newmarket novice over this same seven-furlong trip late last month, rallied to significant effect as Richard Hannon’s runner-up failed to finish with the same purpose and went down by a neck.

The 11-4 victory was a measure of instant consolation for jockey James Doyle, who galvanised his mount to such telling effect little more than half an hour after he and the gallant Crystal Ocean had just lost out to Enable in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes.

Appleby admitted afterwards he had been unsure whether this race was the right one for his Dubawi juvenile.

He said: “I’m pleased, because we always felt going up in trip would be his forte – but we felt this race came at the right time for him.

“After Newmarket I was keen to step up to the mile, but the way he came out of that race and the way this race sat in the programme it suited us to have a crack at it.”

Appleby’s concerns seemed well-founded perhaps as Al Dabaran struggled initially to match the runner-up for pace as both took advantage of a disappointing run from favourite Subjectivist, who finished last of six.

The winning trainer added: “He got caught a little bit flat-footed – but once the stamina kicked in, I felt he got on top well in the end.

“He has done well today, and I think we will see a better horse at the latter part of the season because he is still a bit weak behind the saddle there.”

Future targets are yet to be decided, with the Newmarket trainer ready to look again at possible Group One options.

Appleby said: “He has got no flashy entries, but if he comes right we can pop him in if we need to.

“James was surprised he handled the (soft) ground, but I was more hopeful he would handle it as he is out of a Monsun mare. He is a work in progress.

“I think you have hit the nail on the head that he could end up in one of those (French Group One races at Saint-Cloud or Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy).”

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby expects Masar to prove tough to beat at Newmarket

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Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby expects last year’s Derby winner Masar to prove tough to beat if bringing his A game to the table in the Princess of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

The son of New Approach finished fifth on his first start since triumphing in the Epsom Classic when making his eagerly anticipated return to action in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

With that run his belt the Newmarket handler feels that Masar will take plenty of stopping in the mile and a half Group Two contest he won back in 2017 with Hawkbill.

Appleby said: “He has definitely come forward for his run at Ascot. As we all know at Ascot he didn’t make the tidiest of starts and he was never in the position we would have liked to see him in.

“He came into the race really well but he just got a bit tired and he had nice blow afterwards.

“He was as fit as we could get him without getting a run in but that run has definitely brought him forward and his preparation has gone well from Ascot to the Princess of Wales’s and he will be better with that run under his belt.

“He is moving well and his fitness is good. He is clear on ratings and if the Masar we are seeing at home turns up then they have him all to beat.”

Masar’s first run back in more than a year may have ended in defeat but it provided plenty of encouragement for Appleby that his stable star still retains all of his old ability.

He added: “When you are preparing a horse off a long lay off that has been running over a mile and a half at the top level you can get them fit to a level at home but a race just puts the edge on them.

“It was good to get him back and get his racing brain engaged. He showed all the right signs that his encouragement for the game was there.

“We feel this is a nice opportunity to get his head back in front and then hopefully afterwards we can start looking at an autumn campaign.”

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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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