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Johnston bidding to hit jackpot with Masham Star

Masham Star: 'made of granite'
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Masham Star is undertaking his second foreign assignment on Tuesday as his trainer eyes rich pickings in Qatar.

The improving juvenile, trained by Mark Johnston, faces 12 rivals in the $100,000 Al Rayyan Stakes (3.40) on the first day of the Derby festival meeting in Doha.

The Yorkshire raider bids for victory in the seven-furlong event 24 hours before Scarlet Dragon flies the British flag in the $500,00 showpiece, the Qatar Derby.

Masham Star continued his climb up the ranks with an all-the-way win in a nursery on Newcastle’s all-weather track last month.

'Really impressive at Newcastle'

The son of Lawman is bidding to make it back-to-back British successes in the race, first prize having been secured by the Brian Meehan-trained Perkunas 12 months ago.

Johnston’s son Charlie said: “Masham Star has been getting better and better as the season has gone on and was really impressive at Newcastle last time.

“He has plenty of speed so we're hopeful the drop back to seven won’t be a problem, and he’s already been to Turkey this year, so hopefully will have handled the travel okay.”

Two of Masham Star’s biggest rivals are likely to be the German contender Hyper Hyper, whose trainer won the Qatar Derby last year, and the Norwegian-trained Trouble Of Course.

He's been getting better and better as the season has gone on

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