Derby hero Masar is due to start cantering again this week as he continues building up towards a racecourse return.
Charlie Appleby’s colt has been off the track since his Epsom success, with a leg injury bringing a premature end to his campaign last July.
Masar has been training in Dubai since January, and Appleby reports plenty of positive progress – although the Godolphin team are in no hurry to map out any plans.
The Newmarket trainer said: “He is in good shape and is stepping up each week out there (in Dubai).
“He will start cantering at the end of this week. He has done everything right, what we’ve asked of him. He still remains very exciting, going forward.
“The aim would be that we are probably looking towards Ascot, but there is still a lot of water to go under the bridge and we are not really putting an aim on when he will be back.
Watch again how Masar won the Derby
“We would rather just get him back to the UK with a good level of exercise in him – then we will be able to make more firm decisions from there.”
Appleby is hoping his sidelined star Quorto will have his chance to clash with Too Darn Hot later this summer.
National Stakes hero Quorto was set to meet last year’s top juvenile Too Darn Hot in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 4 but suffered a soft-tissue injury earlier this month while training in Dubai.
Appleby is uncertain how long Quorto will be on the easy list but still hopes to have him back at some point this summer to face Too Darn Hot, who is a best-priced 6-5 for Guineas glory.
“He is off for a re-scan in Dubai this week, and we will then have a better indication of the time scale he will be on the sidelines for,” said the trainer.
“I’m not saying the 2000 Guineas was going to be a two-horse race, but I was looking forward to Too Darn Hot and them having a crack at each other. Hopefully it can happen later in the season.”
While Quorto misses out on the first Classic of the season, stablemate Line Of Duty may still take his chance.
Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Line Of Duty also has the French 2000 Guineas on May 12 as a possible option.
Appleby added: “He is wintering away well, is just tipping away under the radar at the moment.
“He is in the French and English 2000 Guineas, and nearer the time we will make a decision which is the preferred route.
“He will not have a prep run. He will head straight to one of those Guineas.”