Charlie Appleby admits to surprise at ease of Masar’s Craven win

Flashy colt bolted up in notable Guineas trial

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Charlie Appleby reports it to be “all systems go” for Masar ahead of his run in next week’s Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The New Approach colt put a disappointing run in Dubai well behind him when making every yard to claim a nine-length success in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on his British return.

Appleby believes the dirt surface at Meydan was to blame for Masar’s Dubai defeat, but admitted his Al Bastakiya run had not been the original plan.

The trainer said: “I never had any intention of running him out there, but he was wintering a bit too well. He was on the verge of going one way or the other so by running him I was in a win-win situation.

“When he ran in the Craven, he went into the race as a very fit and well horse. If he’d won it by a length or two I would have been happy, but to do that by nine lengths he did surprise me.

“He got a soft lead but could do no more than win like he did.

“When he ran at Del Mar (sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf), he didn’t go for a holiday and his fractions were the best at the meeting.

“He’s always impressed me and has come out of the Craven very well and it’s all systems go for the Guineas. Some wise heads have told me that any horse that can win a Craven Stakes like that must be a bit special.”

Appleby also won the Nell Gwyn at Newmarket with Soliloquy, who will be supplemented for the Qipco 1000 Guineas, but Appleby will monitor underfoot conditions for his other Classic hope, Wild Illusion.

He added: “Wild Illusion has had a good preparation and, barring fast ground, will turn up for the race. If it is fast, I shall have a discussion with Sheikh Mohammed.

“She’s a filly we think a lot about and has a bright three-year-old career ahead of her.

“She’s a strong galloper and an Oaks filly who will stay all day. There’s rain forecast early next week but I don’t want to risk jarring her up if the ground is quick.

“Soliloquy has a part Australian pedigree and a sound surface will suit her.”

Charlie Appleby admits to surprise at ease of Masar’s Craven win

Newmarket 15:35, 5 May 2018

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