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Derby hero Masar just starting his climb to stardom

J A McGrath

Masar was exceptional in the way he handled Epsom so beautifully and strode purposefully to the line to win Saturday’s G1 Investec Derby with tremendous authority.

But both His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and trainer Charlie Appleby believe we are seeing an extremely talented young horse in just the initial stages of his development.

The New Approach colt gave Godolphin a famous first Derby success in the royal blue colours, but Dubai’s ruler is of the opinion that much better is to come.

Appleby said: “His Highness and I went to look at Masar two nights before the Derby, and we both agreed, we’d love to see him as a four-year-old.

“His hindquarters, for instance, there’s still a lot of filling out to do. I think he is getting stronger all the time and only starting his upward curve as a racehorse,” the trainer added.

As results go, few could ever have delivered as much satisfaction to Sheikh Mohammed and his family as Saturday’s Derby.

Two homebreds, Masar and Dee Ex Bee, filling the first two places — and by two Darley stallions in New Approach and Farhh, respectively.

Appleby, himself, is a Godolphin product of another variety, and he was thankful to Sheikh Mohammed for the opportunity he had been given (to train for Godolphin) five years ago.

“It had always been my dream to be the first to win the Derby in the Godolphin blue colours, just to repay His Highness for entrusting me with the job.

“I have been 20 years with Godolphin and I used to do the travelling with the horses, so I would always see His Highness at the big meetings.

“He would ask me about the when I was appointed to the job, it was a lot easier for me to be able to communicate about the horses with His Highness because it was second nature to me,” he said.

Appleby praised Sheikh Mohammed for his ongoing support and encouragement.

“Since day one, you couldn’t ask for a better owner, but more importantly, a better person, being so positive and supportive.

“That’s what I’ve had all the way in this job. Even after we finished second in the G1 Oaks (with Wild Illusion) last Friday, he said to me: ‘Charlie, don’t worry, tomorrow’s another day. Keep going forward.’

“It’s an honour to work for His Highness,” he added.