Charlie Appleby has revealed the Eclipse at Sandown next month is now the preferred target for Derby winner Masar.
The Godolphin-owned colt had been thought a likely runner in the Irish Derby at the Curragh, but that is now firmly a back-up plan, with trainer Appleby feeling a drop back to a mile and a quarter is the best decision for the son of New Approach at this point in time.
We'll leave him in the Irish Derby, just to keep all options open, but the intention is to run in the Eclipse.Charlie Appleby
"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and I discussed Masar's programme at length and have reached the conclusion the Eclipse will suit him best," said the Newmarket trainer.
"We'll leave him in the Irish Derby, just to keep all options open, but the intention is to run in the Eclipse."
Masar is 13/8 to win the Eclipse at Sandown on 7th July, while Roaring Lion, placed behind him in the Derby, is trading at 7/4 for the Group One event.
Appleby says the decision is not all based on enhancing Masar's breeding appeal for his stallion career, though he admits winning at Sandown would be a big boost in that regard.
"Would winning the Eclipse enhance Masar's stallion appeal more than winning the Irish Derby? Of course. A mile and a quarter Group One on his page would look very nice when he goes to stud, but more so it's potentially the right race for him," he added.
"We'd all love to win an Irish Derby, of course we would, but first and foremost is to do what's right for the horse.
"Watching the Derby over and over again, as we have done, you can't help but be pleased with the way Masar travelled into the race, and William (Buick) was able to sit there with a lot of confidence as he probably had them all beat bar Roaring Lion at the two-furlong marker."
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