Ap­pleby not fazed by drop in trip for his classy Masar

The Racing Paper - - News - By Sam Jack­son

THREE of the first four home in the In­vestec Derby re­new ri­valry in what prom­ises to be a fas­ci­nat­ing re­newal of the Coral Eclipse.

The 10-fur­long show­piece tra­di­tion­ally gives mid­dle-dis­tance three-yearolds a first op­por­tu­nity to test their pow­ers against their el­ders and this year’s re­newal is no ex­cep­tion.

Char­lie Ap­pleby’s Masar claimed Derby glory at Ep­som a month ago, beat­ing John Gos­den’s Roar­ing Lion into third and Ai­dan O’Brien’s red-hot favourite Saxon War­rior into fourth.

With Saxon War­rior sur­pris­ingly sent into bat­tle again just seven days af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the Ir­ish Derby, the trio will cross swords once more in the Sandown sun­shine.

Ap­pleby, who also sad­dles 2016 Eclipse hero Hawk­bill, said: “We’re very pleased with both our horses. Their prepa­ra­tion has gone well and we’re look­ing for­ward to what should be great race.

“Masar seems in great form. I don’t think be­ing drawn in stall one is go­ing to a prob­lem, as it looks like there’s enough pace in the race.”

Masar had the op­tion of run­ning in the Ir­ish Derby, but in­stead drops in dis­tance for what will be a third clash of the sea­son with Saxon War­rior, hav­ing fin­ished third be­hind the Bal­ly­doyle in­mate in the 2000 Guineas at New­mar­ket.

Ap­pleby added: “The Ir­ish Derby was there, but com­ing back in trip was never go­ing to be a worry.

“One thing William (Buick) said af­ter the Guineas was that he felt like a 10-fur­long horse against mil­ers.

“I go in there very con­fi­dent with the horse that we’ve got and he has got form around there.

“I don’t think you can get a nicer pro­file go­ing into any Group One race, whether it be a mile and a quar­ter or a mile and a half.”

Hawk­bill will be a big price to re­gain his crown, but Ap­pleby feels he should not be dis­missed lightly and in­sists he is not run­ning purely as a pace­maker for his bet­ter-fan­cied sta­ble­mate.

“He’s a pre­vi­ous win­ner of the race and he’s there gen­uinely on his mer­its,” said the New­mar­ket han­dler.

“Peo­ple will say he’s only there for a pace an­gle, but if some­thing else wants to go on we’re quite happy to take a lead with Hawk­bill.

“Hav­ing said that, if there isn’t much pace on we know what Hawk­bill is good at, so we’ll see.

“He’s in good or­der and if he’s on his A-game I think he’ll test the three­year-olds, which is what it’s all about.”

Roar­ing Lion has fin­ished be­hind Masar in the Craven Stakes, the 2000 Guineas and the Derby this sea­son.

How­ever, on his only start to date over a mile and a quar­ter he ran out an im­pres­sive four-and-a-half length win­ner of the Dante Stakes at York.

Gos­den said: “He (Masar) is a le­git­i­mate favourite. He has won a Craven and it is not like he needs a mile and a half.

“He ran great in the Guineas. I think the Guineas is the best form, so to that ex­tent we’ve got it all to do, but we know a mile and a quar­ter on top of the ground suits us.”

Suprise en­try: Saxon War­rior

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