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Champions Series Stars To Stud: Masar

10 Dec 2019

This week we turn our attention to the colt who finally ended Sheikh Mohammed’s quest for a Derby winner in the blue colours of Godolphin

Masar wins the Craven Stakes

Horse: MASAR

Trainer: Charlie Appleby. Regular jockey: William Buick.

Races: 11. Wins: 4. Group 1 wins: 1. Prize-money:

£1,028,797.

Form in Champions Series races: 31. Official rating: 117.

OVERVIEW:

Masar will always be remembered as the horse who finally ended Sheikh Mohammed’s quest for a Derby winner in the famous blue colours of Godolphin.Going back to 1995, the Godolphin silks had previously been carried by 33 runners in the premier Classic and all had been beaten. There had been near misses and crushing disappointments along the way. For instance, Dubai Millennium, perhaps the greatest horse the Sheikh has owned, started favourite in 1999 but did not stay and finished ninth. In 2013, Dawn Approach went off 5-4 favourite but trailed home a distant last. Such memories were erased as Masar galloped to glory in the 239th running of the iconic race. Masar won the Group 2 Solario Stakes at Sandown among his five runs as a two-year-old in 2017 but Appleby always thought he would make an even better three-year-old. His assertion had been proved correct even before Epsom with the handsome chestnut son of New Approach trouncing his rivals by nine lengths in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April before finishing a fine length-and-a-half third behind Saxon Warrior and Tip Two Win in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, having been sent off 5-2 favourite.

He had been 50-1 for the first Classic before his runaway Craven win, something that Appleby nodded to afterwards. “Had you told me four or five weeks ago that we would be third in the Guineas, I’d have taken that quite happily,” he said. “William came in and said he ran like a horse who needed a step up in trip. We will take a strong consideration towards the Derby next.” The rest, as they say, is history and Sheikh Mohammed and the rest of the Godolphin team will always remember with affection. Masar’s next intended run was to be the Coral-Eclipse and he was the general 7-4 favourite after being supplemented – only to be pulled out the night before the race after suffering a minor leg injury. Nine days later it was announced he would miss the rest of the season but with assurances he would return to training as a four-year-old. However, when he did reappear his powers seemed dimmed and after below-par runs in the Hardwicke Stakes (fifth) and Princess of Wales’s Stakes (last of six) he was retired.

HIS FINEST MOMENT:

Derby Day 2017 did not start well for Charlie Appleby as he left his Newmarket yard without his top hat. Once reunited with it, things got immeasurably better. Masar was an easy to back 16/1 chance for the premier Classic, having finished third to Saxon Warrior in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on his previous start. Most assumed the unbeaten Saxon Warrior, who had been making his reappearance and was very much bred for the Derby trip, would confirm his superiority and he went off the 4/5 favourite. However, those who kept faith in Masar, the son of Derby winner New Approach, never had much to worry about. He travelled kindly throughout and showed a smart turn of foot when William Buick invited him to put his stamp on proceedings. At the line had had a length and a half to spare over Dee Ex Bee, owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s son, with Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior the next pair home.

WHAT THEY SAID:

“Horses are in my blood, I love them. It’s not easy to win the Derby, but we have won it. We are pleased to be here today.”

Sheikh Mohammed after the Derby.

“It was incredible for myself and for His Highness and the team. And the fact that he was a homebred made it very special as well. People always say what is your dream in your profession and it has always been my goal to get the Godolphin Blue across the line first in the Derby.”

Charlie Appleby after the Derby.

“He has come out of his last race in good order, but we feel he owes us nothing and the time is right to retire him from racing. “He will be missed by all the team at Moulton Paddocks and I am sure he will be a great addition to the Darley stallion roster.”

Appleby announces the Derby winner has run his last race.

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM HIS OFFSPRING?

Masar was a Derby winner. So was his sire, New Approach. And so was his grandsire, Galileo. Epsom pulses through his veins and breeders with ambitions of winning the premier Classic will no doubt give him a second look, even if his official rating never rose higher than 121. The handsome Masar has other attributes to do well as a stallion. He must be the only Derby winner to have run in France, America and Dubai en route to glory in the first Saturday in June. That underlines he was a horse with an even temperament. His offspring could well make their mark as two-year-olds, too, as he had visited the winner’s enclosure by the end of May, winning over six furlongs at Goodwood. He seemed well served by a sound surface but also ran well on soft ground on one occasion. He will stand at Dalham Hall Stud, in Newmarket, with his first season covering fee set at £15,000.