Charlie Appleby is keen for Derby hero Masar to have the opportunity to redeem himself after he trailed home last in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
Retirement is a possibility for the colt, who was also beaten on his belated return from injury in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, but Appleby says there will be no immediate decisions made about the flashy chestnut’s future.
The trainer had been hoping the horse who last year ended Sheikh Mohammed’s quest for a Derby winner in the blue colours of Godolphin would make the most of an assignment in shallower waters against five rivals in the Group Two Princess of Wales’s Stakes and the market reflected stable confidence as he went off 5-6 favourite.
However, Masar raced keenly in the first half-mile of the contest and had nothing left for the business end of a race won by course specialist Communique, who carries the colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s son.
Charlie Appleby has no doubt Masar still retains racing ability and the Derby hero worked brilliantly last week.— Racing TV (@RacingTV) July 11, 2019
The trainer is now pondering a step back to ten furlongs pic.twitter.com/OelOH5A3JI
Appleby was left frustrated but retains faith that Masar’s powers have not been blunted. He believes a drop back in distance to a mile and a quarter may help revive him.
“As James [Doyle] said, unfortunately they have gone no gallop and he’s just over-raced with him,” Appleby said to racingtv.com. “He says he was just too keen. He couldn’t get in, or get any cover.
“It’s gone through our minds on a few occasions to drop back to ten. I will speak to his Highness Sheikh Mohammed and [we will] decide on what is best for the horse’s future.
“We are talking about a Derby winner and we do not want to keep going to the well unless we feel it will be fruitful.”
He added: “The horse has pulled up fine and there’s no abnormalities there. James just said he was far too keen and that he’d be better dropping back to ten and trying and get some cover.
"It was annoying because he was in as good a nick as we could have him. He was fit and well.
“I hate to use an excuse when a race doesn't pan out for you, but they didn't go much of a gallop and he was just unfortunately over-racing on the outside and it paid in the end.
“On his bit of work last Wednesday, I had no excuses coming into today. He had ticked every box. The great thing about this game is that is levels you.
“With any of these horses coming off a lay-off, you want to get some confidence behind them and get their head back in front. That is what I was hoping to achieve today. Unfortunately it has not happened so we will have to regroup.”
Doyle added: “There was no pace on and he crawled round. From our draw we could get no cover and he just over-raced the whole way. He really felt fantastic and he floated to the post.”
Communique was continuing his love affair with Newmarket as he powered up the hill to win in decsive style from Mirage Dancer.
Mark Johnston’s four-year-old was winning at Headquarters for the fourth time, but in conceding a 3lb penalty for his victory in the Jockey Club Stakes earlier in the season and 12lb to Ascot winner Dashing Willoughby, he put up a fine performance.
Johnston said “We don’t really have tactics and any idea he has to lead is not true – he bowled along and it didn’t matter he wasn’t in front.
“He’s had a couple of goes in Group Ones and come up short, but on his day he’s that class – that’s two Group Twos now. He’ll get another shot at a Group One some time soon.”
He added: "It was a last minute confirmation for the Ebor, but I doubt he will go there. We want to win a Group One with him.
"He is in one at Hoppegarten and another Group One in Germany. That would be the sort of stepping stone before having a go at another Group One in England."
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager of Mirage Dancer's owner, Khalid Abdullah, said: "He has run a good race, but he couldn't find that turn of foot. Again he has been consistent considering where we were at Christmas. He is still rolling and hopefully will go on some more.
"I would certainly look at going back to Goodwood as he has won a few times there, so you would have to look at it. They didn't go quite fast enough for him. He will get there one day in a race like this."