All roads will lead to a shot at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for last year’s Investec Derby hero Masar when he returns from injury, according to trainer Charlie Appleby.
The four-year-old son of New Approach has been sidelined since meeting with a setback after his victory in the Epsom Classic last June, during his build up to a planned tilt at the Eclipse at Sandown.
An outing in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot has been mentioned as a possible starting point for Masar, but his Newmarket trainer warns he will not be rushing him back for the sake of lining up in the Group Two prize.
Appleby said: “I mentioned the Hardwicke at Ascot as a potential comeback, because that is the most obvious race for him. That is what we would like to do – and at the moment timing-wise, it looks potentially achievable.
“At the end of the day the biggest disappointment last year was missing the Eclipse and the second half of the season with him, and an outing in the Arc.
“If we didn’t make Royal Ascot it wouldn’t be the be all and end all, because the Arc is my main aim – and that is what we are working back from.
“If we are ready enough for Royal Ascot then for sure we will be there – but if we don’t think it is right then we won’t go.”
Having sent Masar over to Dubai for the winter to help him recover from his injury, Appleby is pleased with the progress he has seen.
He said: “He has pleased us week on week in Dubai. He is cantering away now on the treadmill and we can control his pace on there and what we want him to do.
“We’ve still got a bit to go yet before we start to press any buttons.
“Until you get to a certain level of fitness, you don’t know how that injury is going to stand up – but at the minute all the signs are very positive.”