Long wait over for Goldolphin as Masar wins Derby

William Buick celebrates crossing the line on Masar in the Derby. Picture: Warren Little/Getty.
William Buick celebrates crossing the line on Masar in the Derby. Picture: Warren Little/Getty.
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The long wait for a first Investec Derby winner in the royal blue silks of Godolphin finally came to an end when Masar provided Sheikh Mohammed with the victory he has craved at Epsom.

Leaving a lacklustre effort on dirt behind in Meydan with an impressive triumph in the Craven, the Charlie Appleby-trained son of New Approach showed he had the potential to strike at the top table with a close-up third in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Despite having his stamina to prove over a mile and a half, having never raced beyond an extended mile, Masar confirmed the optimism Appleby had in him getting the trip when bursting through under William Buick approaching the two-furlong marker.

Showing no signs of stopping, Masar forged on to cross the line a length and a half clear of Dee Ex Bee, with Roaring Lion half a length back in third and odds-on favourite Saxon Warrior another two and a half lengths adrift in fourth.

Appleby was winning his first Classic – only 24 hours after coming close when Wild Illusion was second in the Oaks.

He said of his 16-1 scorer: “I was quite relaxed throughout the race. On Friday I probably had more butterflies. His homework has always been very impressive since the spring.

“As a two-year-old we always felt whatever he did at two he was going to be better at three, along with stepping up in trip. His Craven was there for all to see and he couldn’t have been more impressive.

“He lost nothing in defeat in the Guineas and what we noticed in the spring this year is mentally how much settled he was and that he was becoming more of a man and professional about the game.

“Coming in today we were confident we had the horse at the best of his ability and he looked fantastic. All the gang have been hands on with him. What really gave me the last bit of confidence was last Saturday. I put him with two strong lead horses and he went over to the Limekilns and he went a nice mile there and was not stopping.”

He went on: “It’s still not sunk in. I’ve been with Godolphin for 20 years now. I’ve seen plenty of things come and go and fortunately when I was appointed trainer five years ago the goal was to have a Derby winner in the Godolphin blue. I’m just delighted to be here and part of it.”

For Buick, who had finished second in the race on two previous occasions, it was also mission accomplished.

He said: “I was very confident this horse would stay. It was really just a case of getting him into a nice rhythm and getting him relaxed and trying to get a smooth run through.

“He conserved (energy) the whole way round. He handled Tattenham Corner well enough. I pulled him out to have a good look at the 
track and he really came alive underneath me.

“It’s something really special winning the Derby and it means the absolute world to me.”

Although Sheikh Mohammed has tasted glory in many major races across the globe, this success was up there with very best in his eyes. He said: “It’s amazing to win the Derby. William gave him a lovely ride and horses are in my blood, so it’s very special.”