The last four winners of the Derby at Epsom have managed only a single victory between them in six subsequent starts, when Harzand followed up in the Irish equivalent in June 2016. Masar (3.35), though, has an excellent chance to end the three-year drought in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
Masar was a busy juvenile, with five starts in three countries including a trip to the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, and maintained his work-rate in the first part of his three-year-old campaign, when he won the Derby on his fourth outing. But a leg injury then kept him off the track for 385 days, before his return at Royal Ascot last month when a bad stumble almost dislodged James Doyle just after the start.
He still went on to finish fifth, less than five lengths behind the winner, Defoe, and Charlie Appleby, his trainer, expects to see significant improvement on Thursday.
“He has definitely come forward for his run at Ascot,” Appleby said on Wednesday.”As we all know, he didn’t make the tidiest of starts and he was never in the position we would have liked to see him in.
“He is moving well and his fitness is good. He is clear on ratings and if the Masar we are seeing at home turns up, then they all have him to beat. We feel this is a nice opportunity to get his head back in front and then hopefully afterwards we can start looking at an autumn campaign.”
Masar is odds-against at 5-4 to regain the winning thread, with Mirage Dancer, last year’s runner-up, rated the main danger at 5-2. Sir Michael Stoute’s five-year-old is a solid performer at this level but it will be a disappointment for many if he is good enough to overcome Masar.
Newmarket 1.50 Danny Tudhope starts the July Festival meeting as the narrow leader in the race for the Flat jockeys’ championship and while his challenge has its roots on the northern circuit, some of Newmarket’s big names have also been chipping in with winners to keep him in the hunt. Eagles By Day is his only winner so far in nine rides for Michael Bell this year, but Tudhope has an obvious chance to make it two-from-10 on the son of Sea The Stars in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy when the step up in trip should suit after their solid run into third behind Japan in a Group Two at Royal Ascot. Aidan O’Brien’s Barbados, dropping back slightly in trip after finishing a close second in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, is the obvious danger.
Newmarket 2.25 Several subsequent Group One winners have gone to post for the July Stakes in recent seasons, though not all have returned as winners. US Navy Flag was only second in 2017, while Jungle Cat and Muhaarar, who won a combined six races at the highest level later on in their careers, were only second and third in 2014. Advertise, the recent Commonwealth Cup winner, and Shalaa were both successful on the July course, however, and Visinari could well emulate them on the way to even better things.. His debut win over track and trip in early June was exceptional both in terms of the winning distance and time, and the form leaves him with little to find to give Mark Johnston a second July Stakes in three seasons.
Newmarket 3.00 A maximum field of 20 will go into the stalls for one of the most competitive three-year-old sprint handicaps of the season, but despite the numbers, this is a race where the market leaders tend to come to the fore, with five of the last six winners going off at a single-figure price. Aplomb and Magical Wish both arrive with strong claims and the former won with something to spare at Nottingham last time. He has yet to race on ground as fast as today’s, however, and at the prices, Moss Gill makes slightly more appeal. He too had something in hand when successful at Ripon last time out and can overcome a 6lb rise in the weights stepping back up to six furlongs.