Champions Series stars back for more: Masar
8 Feb 2019
The Godolphin colt will be the first Investec Derby winner to stay in training for five years.
Masar, ridden by William Buick, wins the Investec Derby at Epsom. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Nobody could have blamed Sheikh Mohammed for retiring Masar to the breeding sheds after he suffered a season-ending leg injury in midsummer last year.
After all, the chestnut colt had ended the Sheikh’s long quest for an Investec Derby winner in the blue colours of Godolphin.
And being a son of New Approach, himself a Derby winner, out of a dam bred on similar lines to another, Sea The Stars, there would not have been any shortage of mares arriving at his door.
The show goes on for Masar, though, and it will be fascinating to see how he is campaigned.
He has spent the early part of this year continuing his recuperation in Dubai, with Appleby suggesting Royal Ascot is a target in the first half of the season.
Presumably, he has the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes over a mile and a quarter in mind for him there, in preference to the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes over a couple of furlongs further.
Will he have a run beforehand? A return to Epsom for the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom on May 31 is there for him, but he would have been off for a year and if Appleby prefers calmer waters – and a bit more time for him to recover before the Royal Meeting – then how about the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on May 23?
Workforce, the 2010 Derby winner, won that Group 3 on his first start as a four-year-old in 2011, while Poet’s Word won last year’s renewal en route to landing the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Talking of the King George, that seems certain to be on Masar’s agenda at Ascot on July 27, while it will be a surprise if he is not at least entered in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on July 6. Last year, he was supplemented only to be ruled out the evening before the race with his injury.
The Juddmonte International Stakes at York on August 21 seems an obvious possibility, with the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown 24 days later another race likely to be strongly considered.
Last year, Roaring Lion won the Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes before proving a star turn on QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot, where he won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
If Masar runs on Champions Day, at Ascot on October 19, it will surely be in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
The other possible race for him that month will be the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp.
It is not inconceivable he could run in both, as Ruler Of The World, the last Derby winner to be kept in training, did in 2013.
Found also ran in both a couple of years ago. She won the Arc, then finished runner-up to Almanzor at Ascot.
How Masar’s year has panned out will no doubt determine whether he runs at the Breeders’ Cup for what, presumably, would be a final time.
America’s biggest meeting of the year is generally regarded as a free roll of the dice for European raiders destined for stud, but it seems a long way away right now.
Wherever Masar runs, it will be fabulous to see him back in action.
FANTASY RACING: A POSSIBLE CAMPAIGN FOR MASAR
May 23: Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown
September 14: QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown
…and then two of the next three
October 6: Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp
November 2: Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita
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