Features

Regally-bred Masar claims Derby crown at Epsom

Saxon Warrior (Deep Impact), who posted such an impressive performance when winning the 2,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m) last month, ran below that form when a well-held fourth in the Derby at Epsom on Saturday, the Charlie Appleby-trained Masar (New Approach), who finished third at Newmarket, comprehensively turning the tables on his first start over 2400 metres.

As is so often the case around the idiosyncratic contours of Epsom this was not a straightforward race, Saxon Warrior lacking racing room as the field swung into the straight, although there can be no doubt the winner was the best colt on the day and this was a likeable performance from Masar, who improved for the step up in trip in line with his stout-staying pedigree.

The presence of the admirable, but somewhat more exposed, Dee Ex Bee (Farhh) in second casts a small shadow on the strength of this form on the whole, while Saxon Warrior’s below-par effort might simply have been a case of the colt not staying – his dam, Maybe (Galileo), achieved her best form over seven furlongs as a juvenile but could only finish fifth in the Oaks. However, he looked uncomfortable on the camber more generally and his jockey, Ryan Moore, described the run as ‘flat’, an explanation that aligned with a visual interpretation of the performance as the fizz he exhibited at Newmarket was lacking under pressure here.

 

Oaks winner looks set to stay further

Forever Together (Galileo), who finished second behind her adeptly ridden stable companion Magic Wand (Galileo) in the Cheshire Oaks (Listed, 1m3.5f) last month, comprehensively turned that form on its head when romping away with the Oaks at Epsom on Friday to break her maiden at the fourth time of asking.

Forever Together suffered a troubled passage through the race at Chester, twice being checked in her run, but she faced no such difficulties on this occasion and improved markedly for the increased emphasis on stamina to pull four and a half lengths clear of the 1,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1m) fourth Wild Illusion (Dubawi) in second. Magic Wand had her class limitations exposed back in fourth as Aidan O’Brien saddled four of the first five home.  

The winner shapes like she will stay as far as she is asked and perhaps she will develop into a St Leger (Gr 1, 1m6.5f) candidate in the autumn, while the runner-up might prove best over a mile and a quarter and the Nassau Stakes (Gr 1, 1m2f) at Goodwood in August could be an option for her.

Deep Impact gets another European Classic winner

On Sunday, the Pascal Bary-trained Study Of Man (Deep Impact) secured a second European Classic for his sire when winning the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly as the stamina capabilities of Poule d’Essais des Poulains (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Olmedo (Declaration Of War) gave way on his first start at the trip, despite the race being run at a muddling early pace.

The victory was the third success in four starts for Study Of Man, who quickened up nicely from a midfield position, but this form is not particularly strong for the race, with the front four finishing in a heap and the remainder of the principles not running their race for varying reasons.

Both the winner and Masar would need to improve again if they are to trouble Cracksman (Frankel) or Enable (Nathaniel) in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m) later in the year, despite the former only scraping home in the Coronation Cup (Gr 1, 1m4f) at Epsom on Friday, with his trainer, John Gosden, suggesting post-race that his colt will be better suited to a flatter track.

 

Randwick on the radar for Century Dream

Earlier on the Epsom card, Arod (Teofilo), who won the Diomed Stakes (Gr 3, 8.5f) in 2015 prior to transferring to the care of Chris Waller, was denied the opportunity to recapture the race having been scratched on account of the rain-softened ground but this year’s winner, the Simon Crisford-trained Century Dream (Cape Cross), could be a considered a potential candidate for The Championships next autumn if he continues to progress across the course of the European summer.

While Arod by and large struggled in Australia, proving much less effective on easy ground, Century Dream relishes cut underfoot having won five of his eight starts on going officially described as good-to-soft or softer. Given a fine ride by William Buick, who sat in the box seat as the race somewhat fell apart around him, Century Dream produced a career-best performance – running to a mark of around 110 – and the Doncaster Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) at Randwick might prove a suitable long-term objective if connections look to an international campaign.

 

Royal Ascot target for Luck Favours and Main Edition

On Monday, the Mark Young-trained Luck Favours (Starspangledbanner) was confirmed as an intended runner in the Queen Mary Stakes (Gr 2, 5f) at Royal Ascot having posted an impressive time when winning a barrier trial at Werribee and, while the opposition she is set to face on her audacious European campaign remains unclear, the Mark Johnston-trained Main Edition (Zoffany) cemented her own credentials for the royal meeting with a taking success in the novice stakes (6f) at Goodwood on Friday evening.

A daughter of the former Coolmore Australia shuttle stallion Zoffany (Dansili), Main Edition ran out a comfortable winner of a fillies’ novice stakes (6f) on her debut at Windsor in May, travelling well and only needing to be pushed out on the good-to-firm ground. Under these very different underfoot conditions – rain earlier in the day had turned the ground soft – she improved another chunk to win by three and a quarter lengths under a penalty.

Although the bare form of this success is probably nothing special – the runner-up had occupied the same position on debut at Newbury in a race containing only newcomers, while the third and fourth were making their first starts here – this was quite a taking performance conceding weight to the colts.

More pertinently, the impressive visual impression created by Main Edition was compounded by the clock, her overall winning time of 1:14.33 proving only 0.28 seconds slower (carrying 4lb less) than the winning time posted by the 84-rated, progressive four-year-old sprinter Magical Dreamer (Acclamation) later on the card, while she was 1.46 seconds quicker to the line (carrying 5lb more) than Impulsion (Footstepsinthesand), a fellow two-year-old filly who won by five lengths on debut thirty minutes later.

As such, Main Edition looks well worth her place in the Albany Stakes (Gr 3, 6f) at Royal Ascot, a meeting at which her sire has enjoyed considerable success through the victories of Washington DC, Waterloo Bridge and Illuminate from his first crop in 2015.

 

Progressive Downdraft O’Brien’s first winner for OTI

Finally, Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m)-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien saddled his first winner for OTI Racing when Downdraft (Camelot) landed the feature 1m2f handicap for three-year-olds at Navan on Saturday. Making his turf debut and racing beyond a mile for the first time, the half-brother to former Australian export Woodcutter (Daylami) was pushed out firmly to lead in the shadows of the post, with the front two pulling five and a half lengths clear of the field. However, he looked value for more than the winning margin of a neck given he still displayed clear signs of inexperience and it would be no surprise if he ends up racing in the southern hemisphere further down the line.