Double date: Irish Derby the likely next port of call for Epsom hero Masar
Masar is likely to stick to a mile and a half and bid to complete the Derby double his sire New Approach was denied the opportunity of achieving.
Coral and Ladbrokes on Sunday made the Derby hero a 7-4 chance for the Dubai Duty Free-backed Irish version at the Curragh on June 30. Both firms make Epsom fourth Saxon Warrior odds-on to reverse the form.
Ten years ago New Approach, who had won the Derby carrying Princess Haya's colours, was withdrawn at the Curragh on the morning of the race with a near-hind problem. In his absence Frozen Fire beat Epsom third Casual Conquest in what many regard as the weakest Irish Derby of modern times.
Charlie Appleby had only a short conversation with Sheikh Mohammed regarding Masar's future following his victory under William Buick on Saturday, but sees no reason to drop him back in trip.
The trainer reported on Sunday: "Myself and His Highness spoke only briefly yesterday about where Masar might go next. We'll let the dust settle before we firm anything up, but the Irish Derby route looks the most logical.
"There's no need to be stepping back in trip. We'll stick to what he's good at now, and a mile and a half is his forte."
Appleby added: "He's had a busy time but he's a very relaxed horse nowadays, ate up when he got home from Epsom, and he does very well between races. He used to wear a hood in the preliminaries and was always wanting to do a bit too much. Nothing seems to faze him now."
Reflecting on a day in which Godolphin's blue silks were carried to victory in the world's most famous Flat race for the first time, the trainer continued: "It was fantastic – a very surreal day. I've been busy trawling through all the kind texts and emails, replying to as many as possible and it's still not sunk in properly.
"We were taken to meet the Queen, which was a surreal experience in itself, and it was great my wife Aisling and the whole team were there to take in the day. It was very special for all of us.
"There's been no opportunity for celebrations yet, but we'll do something in the course of the week."
Last ten colts to win Epsom and Irish Derby
1993 Commander In Chief
2002 High Chaparral
Appleby believes last autumn's trip to the Breeders' Cup, which at the time was a major disappointment, was actually the making of Masar.
He also paid tribute to the part played in the colt's development by Brett Doyle, who now combines race-riding on a smaller scale than was once the case with daily work as one of the many former leading professional jockeys employed by Godolphin as exercise riders.
He said: "Brett has been with us for about 18 months and was with Masar through his two-year-old career and again this year. It makes my job a lot easier having the likes of him, Willie Ryan, Seb Sanders, Kirsty Milczarek, Oscar Urbina and many more.
"The information I receive from them is second to none, and they're a huge asset. William and James [Doyle] are with us most days too, and between them they offer a huge wealth of experience. None of the guys are doing it for themselves – they're doing it for the team which is a pleasure to see.
"Brett is involved with Masar on a day-to-day basis. He rides him every morning in his routine exercise and when he works. He does the whole nine yards. He went to Del Mar with him and then came to Dubai."
Masar started favourite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf following his third in the Lagardere, but he did not enjoy the best of runs and finished only sixth behind Mendelssohn. However, what on the face of it seemed a mini-disaster was in fact nothing of the sort.
Appleby explained: "The travelling he's done has helped and Del Mar was the turning point. We sent him there for a reason as we felt he had a good chance, but it became a messy race and I walked away deflated.
"But 'Croc' [former BBC commentator Jim McGrath] told me not to worry and assured me the experience would make a man of him.
"Full credit to Jim as that was the turning point. He'd been a useful two-year-old, winning the Solario Stakes and being placed in the Lagardere, but he's a different horse now."
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