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Appleby awaits Masar scan results as Derby form gets a boost

J A McGrath

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby will keep all plans on hold for Derby winner Masar until he receives the results of a series of scans to the colt’s injured leg later this week.

Masar banged his off-fore during routine exercise at Moulton Paddocks on the eve of Sandown Park’s G1 Coral Eclipse last Friday and was forced to miss the race.

But in his absence, two colts he had comprehensively beaten in the G1 Investec Derby fought out a thrilling finish to the season’s first major clash of the generations, franking the Epsom form in no uncertain manner.

Appleby, issuing a progress report on Masar, said today: “The inflammation has subsided and he has been responding well under veterinary monitoring, but the next big thing is the scans. We hope to know more when we get those results.”

It was a shame that Masar was unable to take his place in the field on Saturday as the form lines around him suggest he would have played a major role.

Roaring Lion, who he had finished ahead of in the G3 Craven Stakes, the G1 2,000 Guineas and the G1 Derby, got the better of an intense battle with Saxon Warrior (who Masar had also beaten at Epsom) in the Coral Eclipse.

With the three-year-olds acquitting themselves well against the older brigade, it served as a timely boost for the Classic form.

While Roaring Lion looks likely to become caught up in the usual G1 ‘mile and a quarter’ circus in England and Ireland in coming months, Saxon Warrior, the G1 2,000 Guineas winner, is almost certain to revert to one mile.

Godolphin’s Hawkbill, forced to step up in Masar’s absence, finished an honourable fourth for William Buick. But after being a little slow to muster early speed, he worked fairly hard to take up the running and that effort told in the final furlong.

Cliffs Of Moher, who had run twice at Royal Ascot this year, showed a special brand of toughness by producing perhaps his best run for some time by taking third place.