Mark Johnston’s charge found only Godolphin’s Masar too strong in the premier Classic and his trainer, Charlie Appleby, confirmed yesterday that his Epsom hero is going to sidestep the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and instead aim for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on July 7.
His anticipated defection means the door is open for Dee Ex Bee, who carries the colours of Godolphin supremo Sheikh Mohammed’s son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, to try to go one better in Ireland.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “Jono Mills (Godolphin bloodstock manager) has been up to the yard this morning and I think if Masar is going to the Eclipse, that would make Ireland a strong favourite for Dee Ex Bee.
“He is in great order and we could even have gone to Royal Ascot as he come out that race (Derby) that well.
“The Irish Derby and the Grand Prix De Paris were the two options on the table and if Masar is skipping Ireland, it makes us more likely to go there.”
While Dee Ex Bee is Ireland-bound, Masar will drop back in distance at Sandown.
However, the son of New Approach will need to be supplemented for the 10-furlong race.
“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and I discussed Masar’s programme at length and have reached the conclusion that the Eclipse will suit him best,” Appleby said.
“We will leave him in the Irish Derby, just to keep all options open. But the intention is to run in the Eclipse.
“Masar has won at Sandown (the Solario Stakes), showing he acts well on the track and dropping back in trip will be no problem — he won the Craven and finished third in the 2000 Guineas. He’s got plenty of speed.”
Meanwhile, Tattersalls Gold Cup hero Lancaster Bomber is set to miss Royal Ascot after suffering a setback.
After placing third behind stablemate Rhododendron in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, Aidan O’Brien’s charge recorded his first victory at Group 1 level with an all-the-way success at the Curragh.
O’Brien was contemplating supplementing his charge for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting, but speaking in an exclusive stable tour on www.attheraces.com, the trainer said: “I don’t think he’ll make it to Royal Ascot.
“He is going through a niggly problem with a foot at the moment, so it’s likely to he won’t be ready enough to run there.”
O’Brien also confirmed high-class three-year-old fillies Magical and September will not be in action at the summer showpiece fixture at Ascot next week.
Referring to Magical, O’Brien said: “She won’t make it to Royal Ascot. She had a setback that ruled her out of the Oaks and while she’s back cantering now, the Irish Oaks is probably the earliest I could see her being back on the track and it could well be later than that.”
Of September, O’Brien said: “She won’t make it to Royal Ascot. We are hoping to have her back in time for the Irish Oaks, but we can’t be sure whether she will be ready in time for that just yet.”