Derby hero Masar flies to Dubai winter training camp as Appleby eyes Royal Ascot

Last year's Derby winner Masar flew out to a winter training camp in Dubai this week to continue his recuperation from the leg injury that curtailed his Classic-winning campaign.

The son of New Approach, who gave Charlie Appleby a first British Classic success at Epsom in June, will be ridden out for the first time since sustaining the setback on the eve of his intended clash with Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior in the Group 1 Eclipse last July.

Masar winning the 2018 Investec Derby, photo Liesl King

Masar is at Appleby's state-of-the-art base at Al Marmoom Stables in the Dubai desert, where it is hoped he can take further steps towards a possible racecourse return in the summer.

Speaking from the UAE, Appleby said: "We shipped Masar out here this week – he has settled in nicely and is continuing his build-up on the treadmill.

"We hope to have him ridden again in the coming weeks and the vets are happy with his progress. Bringing horses out to Dubai for the winter is something we have revived in recent years and they seem to have benefited from it."

He added: "We'll step up his programme an let him enjoy himself but there is no pressure from the boss [Sheikh Mohammed]. Ideally, we would like to see him back in action in the summer when Royal Ascot is a possibility but we'll feel our way and build his fitness out here first."

Ghaiyyath, another high-class four-year-old, has also been transferred to warmer climes. The Dubawi colt was at one time ahead of Masar in the Derby pecking order at the yard until injury struck last spring.

Ghaiyyath returned at the end of last season to win a Group 3 in France in September, but Appleby resisted the temptation to run him in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe or Champion Stakes.

He said: "Ghaiyyath has had a good winter and we have always held him in high regard at Moulton Paddocks. We had a discussion after he won the Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange on his return but the decision was taken to put him away.

"He's now won two Group 3s and the plan would be to have him out early on in Europe with the Group 1 Prix Ganay [won last year by Cracksman] a strong possibility."

Appleby is eyeing further Classic success in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas in May with Group 1 winners Quorto and Line Of Duty.

Quorto was put away after landing the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh last September, while Line Of Duty scored on a bigger stage when landing the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

Appleby added: "Quorto and Line Of Duty have been out here since before Christmas and both are enjoying it. Although Masar won the Craven Stakes, the plan would be to take both colts straight to post for the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May."