A decision on which race last year’s Derby winner Masar will run in at Royal Ascot will be made in the next 48 hours.
Trainer Charlie Appleby was happy with him in a routine gallop on Wednesday, after a racecourse spin at Newmarket on Saturday – but whether he lines up over 10 furlongs in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes or the Hardwicke over two furlongs further has still not been finalised.
Appleby said: “I was delighted with the way he came out of Saturday. He did a routine bit of work, but rain stopped play in allowing us to get over the road on to the Limekilns. I couldn’t have been happier with his work.
“In regards to whether he runs in the Prince of Wales’s or Hardwicke, a decision will be made in the next 48 hours. I don’t want to put it further back, but there are plenty of calculations that need to be made, especially with the way the ground is with the rain.
“You would be hoping for decent ground, but the forecast has changed over the last couple of days and that has to be taken into consideration. I will speak to Sheikh Mohammed and we will make what we think is the right call for the horse for his start at Ascot.”
He added: “Dropping back to 10 furlongs doesn’t worry me, as I said on Saturday, as he has won the Craven and we were going to come back to 10 furlongs after the Derby, when unfortunately he met with a setback when favourite for the Eclipse.
“We have just got to make sure we make the right decision for his first start after a long lay-off.”
One thing Appleby did confirm was that if Masar runs in the Prince of Wales’s William Haggas will need a new jockey for Sea Of Class, with James Doyle to be retained by Godolphin.
“Wherever Masar runs James Doyle will ride, whether that is the Prince of Wales’s or the Hardwicke,” said Appleby.
“James will be riding all the first-choice horses and star performers like Masar, Cross Counter and Blue Point and he is looking forward to the rides on them.
“Kerrin McEvoy will be coming over to pick up the second mounts. We are delighted to have him on board, as we have had a good association through the years. Hopefully he will stay over until the July meeting at Newmarket.”