Investec Derby hero MASAR has been supplemented at a cost of £50,000 for the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse, and trainer Charlie Appleby believes he is the horse to beat.
Tomorrow’s (Saturday) encounter offers the first opportunity of the season for the three-year-old Classic Generation to take on older horses at Group 1 level and MASAR, the three-year-old son of New Approach, heads the market at 5-4 with leading local bookmaker Carrigill’s.
The Godolphin colt registered a decisive length and a half victory under William Buick in Britain’s premier Classic over 12 furlongs at Epsom Downs on June 2 and enjoyed an impressive workout on Newmarket’s July course on Saturday under his regular work-rider Brett Doyle.
He breezed seven furlongs and finished well clear of his two stable companions Alqamar and African Jazz, prompting Appleby to declare that he was the horse to overcome, and he will once again be partnered by Buick.
At the other end of the scale a shortage of runners has tempted connections of an unknown colt into taking a shot at the Sandown contest. RAYMOND TUSK was last seen running second in a novice race and might need to improve by two stones to win an Eclipse, but the 66-1 shot has been working like a good horse and those close to him have hopes of getting some prize money.
“Richard Hannon’s been very excited about him all spring,” said Tim Palin of North Yorkshire syndication company Middleham Park Racing. “He won very impressively on his debut at Newbury and he’s definitely a Group horse.”
“We hoped for a better result at Newmarket last time, but we think the winner, Loxley, is also a Group horse and Richard retains every faith in ours. At 9.30am, we were planning to come out of the Eclipse but at 11.24am there were only four horses committed to the race, so we decided to give it a go. Then, of course, Aidan O’Brien has come in at the last minute with five more.
“But we do really like this horse and he can run a solid enough race. It still might end up as a small field and there’s prize money down to sixth place. Barring accidents, we’ll take our chance anyway. Our members love having a runner in a Group One and we haven’t had one for a couple of years. They’ll have a fantastic day out.”
At the prices I like ROARING LION, currently a 5-2 shot, who looked the likely winner at Epsom at the three pole before failing to pick up in the last furlong leaving some questions about his stamina.
But he absolutely hacked up when stepped up to 1m 2f 110 yards in the Dante at York, travelling strongly off the pace before showing his powerful turn of foot to run away with the Group 2 contest.
Today’s (Friday) sprint opener at Doncaster (1.30) can see another raid on his beloved home county by Newmarket trainer William Haggas with ISLAND OF LIFE, and if she breaks she wins.
The form of BLUE LAUREATE’S Sandown seventh on his debut is working out well, and his return to the Esher track today (Friday) at 4.05 should not be missed.
In Saturday’s Old Newton Cup at Haydock (1.45) ELGIN looks the ante-post value at a general 7-1. It’s his first run in a handicap and off a handicap of 98 following useful runs in maiden and novice company he can land this valuable prize for handler Alan King.