Investec Derby hero Masar headlines 10 contenders for the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse on Saturday, July 7.
Owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby, Masar registered a decisive length and a half victory under William Buick in Britain's premier Classic over 12 furlongs at Epsom Downs on June 2. He is the 5/4 favorite with sponsor Coral for the 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse.
The 3-year-old son of New Approach made all to run out a ready winner of the G3 Craven Stakes on his first European start of 2018 at Newmarket over a mile in April, before finishing third to Aidan O'Brien's Saxon Warrior [fourth to Masar at Epsom, 8/1 with Coral] over the same course and distance in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas in May.
Masar landed the G3 Solario Stakes over a mile at Sandown Park in September, 2017 and bids to provide Godolphin with a sixth success in the G1 Coral-Eclipse following the victories of Halling (1995, 1996), Daylami (1998), Refuse To Bend (2004) and Hawkbill (2016), who is also trained by Newmarket-based Appleby.
Masar enjoyed a workout on Newmarket's July course on Saturday under his regular work-rider Brett Doyle. He breezed seven furlongs and finished well clear of his two stable companions [Alqamar and African Jazz]. He will be ridden by William Buick on Saturday.
The Coral-Eclipse offers the first opportunity of the season for the three-year-old Classic generation to take on older horses at G1 level.
The older battalion is headed by Masar's stable companion Hawkbill, who plundered the 2016 renewal of the G1 race under Buick.
Hawkbill (20/1) captured the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March and finished third in the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20.
Opposition to the Godolphin duo is headed by the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion (2/1), who finished two lengths behind Masar when third in the Investec Derby.
The three-year-old son of Kitten's Joy landed the 10-furlong G2 Dante Stakes at York by four and a half-lengths, having finished fifth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and third behind Masar in the G3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
The Qatar Racing Limited-owned colt also worked on the July Course at Newmarket on Saturday under Kieran O'Neill and pleased connections.
Aidan O'Brien – champion trainer in Britain and Ireland – could join Alec Taylor and Sir Michael Stoute as the winning-most trainers in the Coral-Eclipse with six victories if he were to taste success in Saturday's renewal in which he has five possible runners.
O'Brien, successful with Giant's Causeway (2000), Hawk Wing (2002), Oratorio (2005), Mount Nelson (2008) and So You Think (2011), all owned by Coolmore partnerships, could saddle dual G1 winner Happily (9/2), who has finished third in both the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh this season.
The 3-year-old daughter of Galileo was last seen when a half-length fourth behind Laurens in the G1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly and would become just the third filly to win the G1 Coral-Eclipse following Pebbles (1985) and Kooyonga (1992).
O'Brien could saddle Irish Derby second and third Rostropovich (16/1) and Saxon Warrior, who finished a close third to Latrobe, trained by his son Joseph, in the 12-furlong Classic at the Curragh on June 30.
O'Brien's contingent of older horses includes 2017 Investec Derby second Cliffs Of Moher (16/1), who finished third on his latest start in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes (12f) at Royal Ascot, having run fourth in the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (10f) at the Berkshire venue earlier in the week. Yucatan (25/1), a length winner of a G3 contest at the Curragh over 10 furlongs on June 30, completes O'Brien's quintet of possible Coral-Eclipse starters.
Forest Ranger (Richard Fahey, 11/1) has a G2 victory on the board already this year, having captured the Huxley Stakes by a length and a quarter from War Decree (Aidan O'Brien) at Chester on May 11.
The 4-year-old son of Lawman was also successful on his seasonal debut when defeating the O'Brien-trained Deauville by half a length in the G3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket on April 18.
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