Masar Headlines July Opener

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Masar | Racing Post

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Now that he has that all-important pipe-opener under his belt, Masar (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) can hopefully begin the process of rebuilding back to where he promised to be in Thursday's G2 Princess of Wales's S. on the first day of Newmarket's July meeting. Cut short after his G1 Epsom Derby triumph last June, Godolphin's 'TDN Rising Star' produced a respectable effort after the layoff when fifth in Royal Ascot's G2 Hardwicke S. June 22. Stumbling at the start and then too free throughout the early stages, the homebred may have a case for reversing form with Khalid Abdullah's Mirage Dancer (GB) (Frankel {GB}) who was third after a perfect trip.

Masar's handler Charlie Appleby is looking ahead now. “He has definitely come forward for his run at Ascot,” he said. “When you are preparing a horse off a long lay off that has been running over a mile and a half at the top level, you can get them fit to a level at home but a race just puts the edge on them. He came into the race really well, but he just got a bit tired and he had nice blow afterwards. He was as fit as we could get him without getting a run in, but that run has definitely brought him forward and his preparation has gone well from Ascot to the Princess of Wales's and he will be better with that run under his belt. He is moving well and his fitness is good. He is clear on ratings and if the Masar we are seeing at home turns up then they have him all to beat.”

The Juddmonte team are hoping that Mirage Dancer can deliver something of note and the owner-breeders' racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe is hopeful. “He was tanking along at Ascot, but to be fair it was only his second run start this season and you have to pretty happy with him. He has been straightforward since. I know Masar hadn't run since last year's Derby when they met in the Hardwicke and he ran a super race, so it will be interesting.”

Two Royal Ascot winners line up, with Mohammed bin Hamad Khalifa Al Attiya's June 21 Duke of Edinburgh H. winner Baghdad (Fr) (Frankel {GB}) joined by Mick and Janice Mariscotti's June 19 G2 Queen's Vase scorer Dashing Willoughby (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) who gets 12 pounds weight-for-age allowance from the May 4 G2 Jockey Club S. winner Communique (Ire) (Casamento {Ire}) and nine pounds from the rest.

The card opens with the G3 Bahrain Trophy, where St Leger aspirants include the June 21 G2 King Edward VII S. third Eagles By Day (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}), while the 2-year-olds have their turn in the G2 July S. 'TDN Rising Star' Visinari (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) will be a warm order following his highly impressive course-and-distance debut win June 8. Timeform's Simon Rowlands has measured his stride length at 28.1 feet and therefore greater than Frankel (GB) and behind only Sea the Stars (Ire) and Black Caviar (Aus), so it is no surprise that Rob Ferguson's grey is coming to Suffolk with great enthusiasm surrounding him. All that said, he is inexperienced and has the June 18 G2 Coventry S. third Guildsman (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) as a significant benchmark to aim at.

Visinari's trainer Mark Johnston's son and assistant Charlie is keen to play down the colt's current cramped odds. “I think it's probably a little bit unfair on the horse that he's as short a price as he is, to be honest,” he said. “I don't see him as an 11-10 shot, or whatever he is, but I hope they are right. He's only a once-raced maiden winner at the end of the day, but obviously there's a lot of talk about him because a man with a stopwatch says he's something out of the ordinary. He was certainly very impressive, but this is a big step up in class and it is a step into the unknown. Win, lose or draw, I'm sure he'll be stepping up to seven furlongs on his next start.”

Guildsman's trainer Archie Watson is keen to take on Visinari with his smart juvenile and commented, “He is a very nice horse and he ran a very good race in the Coventry. This was the next logical step with him. I've been very happy with him since Ascot. Running at Ascot came only 11 days after his debut, but we did expect a big run. I think the first three in the Coventry are very nice horses. I think the track will suit and his running style suggests he will get seven furlongs in time, but that is something we won't do now. He has already shown a high level of form and he is very laid-back. Everything should suit him.”

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