- Sire-Dam -
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.
The chestnut colt did so in some style, too, as 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.
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.
“Horses are in my blood, I love them,” the Sheikh said in a TV interview with Racing UK after the race. “It’s not easy to win the Derby, but we have won it. We are pleased to be here today.”
Trainer Charlie Appleby was enjoying his first Classic success and speaking to British Champions Series a couple of days after the win said: “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.”
Assessing future options for the horse, Appleby said, “I always like to work back from races and the Arc or Champions Day [QIPCO Champion Stakes] is what we will work back from. We will let the dust settle and let the horse tell us.”
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 son of New Approach, out of Khawlah, 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 went out with the mindset that we were going to go forward with him. He gave him a lovely ride and he came in and said he ran like a horse who needed a step up in trip.
“When they quickened, Will said he got caught flat-footed a bit and when they hit the rising ground, he was galloping back towards them to the line. We will take a strong consideration towards the Derby next.”
Sheikh Mohammed and the rest of the Godolphin team will always be grateful that he did.
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 Prince of Wales’s Stakes Stakes (fifth) and Princess of Wales’s Stakes (last of six) he was retired.
BCS Career statistics
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