Masar faces eight rivals in Hardwicke return at Ascot

Derby hero has first start in over a year on Saturday

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Last year’s Derby winner Masar returns to action in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.

Not seen in action since his finest hour at Epsom last June, the Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old runs in this 12-furlong Group Two in preference to the Prince of Wales’s Stakes earlier in the week.

He faces eight rivals, including Roger Varian’s Coronation Cup winner Defoe, who took his form to a new level when winning at Epsom.

Sylvester Kirk’s Salouen finished third and Mark Johnston’s Communique fourth in that race and they both take on Defoe again.

Mirage Dancer steps up in class for Sir Michael Stoute after comfortably winning a Listed race last time out, while Morando takes his chance for Andrew Balding.

Aidan O’Brien is represented by Southern France, who pushed Stradivarius close in the Yorkshire Cup at York.

There is one filly in the field, John Gosden’s Lah Ti Dar, but she will need to step up on her sixth in the Coronation Cup.

Nagano Gold, trained in the Czech Republic, completes the line up.

Masar faces eight rivals in Hardwicke return at Ascot
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