The Coral-Eclipse is to be Derby winner Masar’s next target, trainer Charlie Appleby said on Wednesday.
Appleby's inclination the day after the colt's landmark Derby victory – the first time Godolphin's blue silks had been carried to success in the Epsom Classic – was that Masar would stick to a mile and a half and head to the Curragh for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby later this month.
Masar winning the Derby, photo Liesl King
However, Sandown on July 7 and a drop back in trip to a mile and a quarter is the decision that has been made.
Appleby said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and I discussed Masar’s programme at length and have reached the conclusion that the Eclipse will suit him best.
“We will leave him in the Irish Derby, just to keep all options open. But the intention is to run in the Eclipse."
The trainer added: “Masar has won at Sandown [Solario Stakes], showing that he acts well on the track, and dropping back in trip will be no problem – he won the Craven Stakes and finished third in the 2,000 Guineas. He’s got plenty of speed."
Eclipse sponsor Coral quote Masar – who needs to be supplemented to the contest at a cost of £30,000 – at 15-8 favourite (from 2), with Roaring Lion 3-1 next best.
Masar, meanwhile, also featured among the 34 entries unveiled on Wednesday for the Qipco-backed King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 28.
Aidan O'Brien has 11 entries, eight of whom are three-year-olds, including Derby fourth Saxon Warrior, who was cut to 4-7 (from 8-13) for the Irish Derby following the news that Masar is heading to Sandown.