Doyle delight: rider on Sea Of Class in Prince of Wales's after Masar switch

James Doyle on Saturday described himself as ecstatic after keeping the ride on Prince Of Wales's hope Sea Of Class following the decision to aim Masar at the Hardwicke Stakes.

Doyle has ridden Sea Of Class on all six of her starts, most recently when the pair finished a fast-finishing second to Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The partnership looked set to be broken with Doyle contracted to ride 2018 Derby winner Masar, trained by Charlie Appleby, in the Prince of Wales's on Wednesday.

However, after Doyle rode Masar for the first time this year in a workout at Appleby's base in Newmarket on Saturday morning, connections opted to re-route the Epsom Classic winner to the Hardwicke three days later.

Doyle said on Saturday: "I'm ecstatic with the way things have panned out. I'm delighted to get on Sea Of Class and also to ride Masar in the Hardwicke.

"Sea Of Class had a massive year in 2018 and hopefully she can continue it this season. It's a hot race and although I've not ridden her at home they say she's in good order.

"I've ridden Masar before and rode work on him this morning and he's in great order. He's my colleague and good friend William's [Buick] horse and it's unfortunate that he won't be at Ascot this year."

William Haggas, who trains Sea Of Class, said: "I'm absolutely delighted that James is available. He does not ride her at home, but he knows everything about her and we are very happy that the combination is intact."

Masar has not raced since winning the 2018 Derby and it was felt that pitching him into a white-hot renewal of the Group 1 Prince of Wales's against the likes of Magical, Sea Of Class and Crystal Ocean may be a tough ask after a year on the sidelines.

The Group 2 Hardwicke is run over an extra two furlongs at 1m4f. 

Appleby said: "After consultation with Sheikh Mohammed, it has been decided that Masar will run in the Hardwicke Stakes. He felt it's right for the horse to start him back in a Group 2 rather than a hot Group 1 after his injury.

"The Prince of Wales's would be a tough assignment looking at the line-up and we are happy to take him to the Hardwicke and then map his campaign out after that."

Masar is now a general 4-1 chance for the Hardwicke in which Appleby also has Ghaiyyath, a fellow 4-1 shot, as a possible second string.

On the Prix d'Harcourt winner, the trainer added: "Ghaiyyath is a possible runner in the Hardwicke although he also could run in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud [June 30]."