Charlie Appleby has warned those set to take on Masar in the Coral-Eclipse they will have to bring their A-game if they are to topple this year’s Investec Derby hero.
The son of New Approach stepped up his preparation for the mile-and-a-quarter Group One contest at Sandown next week with a racecourse gallop at Newmarket’s July Course on Saturday morning.
Working over seven furlongs under regular partner Brett Doyle, the three-year-old quickened smartly clear of stablemates Alqamar (Oscar Urbina) and African Jazz (Mikey Ennis) before crossing the line with around eight lengths in hand.
Appleby said: “I was very pleased with him. He had his same two galloping companions there and we covered the same trip. He did it equally as well, if not probably better, than before Epsom.
“I’m not going to hype him much more, as he is a Derby winner, so I can’t really put much more positive spin on it. Physically, he looks great.
“We go in there with a horse we feel is in the best condition we can get him in and at this stage they have got us to beat.”
He added: “As Brett said, he is the ultimate professional and I think he has shown us what we wanted to see and that was his well-being.
“Epsom is Epsom and you don’t go there and have an easy race. He knew he had a run.
“To be fair to the horse he took a lot of media attention on in the following 48 hours. It is not like he got as much rest as he would normally get. He is a professional, though, and took it well.
“He put on what weight he lost at Epsom within about eight days and since then has put some more on again.
“This will put him spot on for the Eclipse.”
Masar is favourite for the Eclipse ahead of Epsom third Roaring Lion, who also enjoyed a spin over a similar trip at the July Course before racing.
Partnered by Kieran O’Neill, the John Gosden-trained Dante winner moved well and pulled clear of lead horse Master Singer during the closing stages of the exercise.
Gosden said: “This is the first time he has been on the grass since the Derby.
“It’s been a little tricky. He has only been on the all-weather, so he needed to come down here and have a feel of the grass again, as it is quite a long time since the Derby.
“We said we would go for this race (Eclipse) straight after the Derby. I said standing at Epsom we will freshen him up and go for this, so we are sticking to the original plan.”