Just 16 days on from registering a resounding nine-length victory over the same course and distance, Masar will face 13 rivals in the first British Classic of the year, the Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas over a mile of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday (May 5th).
Being contested for the 210th consecutive year, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas has a total prize fund of £500,000 and kicks off the 35-race QIPCO British Champions Series which culminates in QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday, 20th October.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, Masar’s runaway recent win came in the Group 3 bet365 Craven Stakes, beating one of Saturday’s opponents, Roaring Lion, into third place.
The son of New Approach had previously proved himself a high class colt when winning last September’s Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park and finishing third in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly.
He then suffered terrible traffic problems around Del Mar’s tight turns in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and failed to handle the dirt surface in the Listed Al Bastakiya at Meydan on his 2018 comeback run.
His opponents will include three colts – Gustav Klimt, Saxon Warrior and Murillo - from the yard of the multiple Irish Champion Trainer, Aidan O’Brien, already successful in this event on a record eight occasions.
Gustav Klimt overcame a troubled passage to overhaul Nebo in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s Adnams July Course last July and made a successful reappearance in the Listed 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on 14th April.
Saxon Warrior has not had the benefit of a run this term so was last seen when outstaying Roaring Lion in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in October. Twice third in Group 2 company, Murillo has not raced for ten months but, given the record of his trainer, still merits respect.
Other leading candidates are Elarqam, an unbeaten son of two outstanding Guineas winners, Frankel and Attraction, who landed the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes on the Rowley Mile in September, and Frankie Dettori’s mount, James Garfield, successful in last month’s Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury.
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Masar, said:
“I have been pleased with his preparation and he’s come out of the Craven in good order. I can’t give you a negative.”
“The way he galloped down into the dip in the Craven was very good, he handled it well. He’s very athletic. I’m very happy where we are with Masar at the present time.”
“We were obviously delighted with Masar’s performance in the Craven Stakes. We went into that race a fit horse, with the run under our belt out in Dubai, but you couldn’t have been more pleased with the way he quickened away in the final furlong. Once he hit the rising ground, he put a lot of distance between himself and the rest of the field.”
“He was fit going into the Craven but has definitely come forward mentally and in terms of maturity. His preparation has been very routine since then and we are very happy with him. It should be lovely ground at Newmarket on Saturday and he has the course experience now.”
“He made all last time out but ideally we would like to take a lead. He is a very versatile horse – he can make the running but has also been dropped in behind horses. We will play it by ear from stall 14 and leave it up to William [Buick, his jockey] as to where he feels the pace might be.”
“Masar is a horse that we always loved as a two-year-old. It was unfortunate how it panned out for him at the Breeders’ Cup but we put a line through that and we knew not long after the gates opened out in Dubai that dirt was not the surface for him.”
“Based on what we saw in the Craven, we must go into Saturday’s race hoping that he is a serious contender. It’s an exciting weekend for the team and we hope that Masar has a decent chance.”