Masar out to spoil Saxon Warrior’s history bid at Epsom

Donnacha O’Brien riding Saxon Warrior (C) wins The Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Saxon Warrior has a challenger in Masar, in the Epsom Derby. (Getty Images)
Updated 01 June 2018
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Masar out to spoil Saxon Warrior’s history bid at Epsom

  • In English 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, Coolmore have made a play that could create a nearly unstoppable force were he to win the Epsom Derby today.
  • Masar is the only Godolphin representative in the field of 12, that includes the Aga Khan’s Hazapour and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed of Dubai’s Dee Ex Bee.

EPSOM: Ballydoyle and Coolmore versus Godolphin and Darley is a rivalry that goes back more than 20 years but if there is one element of it that stands out above all others it is Fantastic Light’s tussle with Galileo in 2001.
Fantastic Light avenged his defeat in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes with a narrow and thrilling win in the Irish Champion Stakes, but although he won that particular battle Galileo has since swung the war very much in favor of the Irish outfit as the world’s best sire. At 20 years of age he remains a dominant force, but strategically Coolmore are already looking beyond the horizon.
In English 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior, Coolmore have made a play that could create a nearly unstoppable force were he to win the Epsom Derby today.
The Irish syndicate of John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor have sought the bloodlines of Deep Impact, Japan’s version of Galileo. They sent their Group One-winning mare Maybe to Deep Impact and the product of their meeting was Saxon Warrior, who is the clear favorite for the 239th running of the world’s most important race.
Win, and Coolmore are likely to ramp up their visits to the Japanese legend who leapfrogged Darley’s Dubawi in January as the world’s most expensive advertised sire at $275,000.
Donnacha O’Brien guided Saxon Warrior to victory at Newmarket, but it is Ryan Moore who will be in the saddle in pursuit of his third win in the $1.9 million contest.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has revealed that Saxon Warrior will tilt at the Triple Crown, the three races that start with the 2000 Guineas and finish with the St. Leger at Doncaster in September — it has not been won since Nijinksy in 1970. What an irony it would be if Godolphin could derail those ambitions this afternoon with Masar.
Six years ago Coolmore’s Camelot won the first two legs and was thwarted at Doncaster by Godolphin’s Encke, a horse who passed drugs tests both before and after the race but was later found to have been administered steroids by now-disgraced trainer Mahmoud Al-Zarooni.
Much like Saxon Warrior is for Coolmore, Masar is a son of 2008 Derby winner New Approach, who was owned by Princess Haya of Jordan, and his mother is the tough UAE Derby-winning filly Khawlah. He may be a fine advertisement for the ruler of Dubai’s bloodlines, but whether he is good enough is a matter of debate.
Masar is the only Godolphin representative in the field of 12, that includes the Aga Khan’s Hazapour and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed of Dubai’s Dee Ex Bee. The lack of Godolphin numbers puts Masar at a tactical disadvantage under William Buick, even if the pairing has lucked out with gate 10, which has produced the most winners of the race with nine.
O’Brien has a stranglehold on how the 12-furlong event could play out, as Saxon Warrior, who is poorly drawn in stall one, is accompanied by stable companions Delano Roosevelt, Kew Gardens, The Pentagon and Zabriskie.
Sheikh Mohammed has displayed a knack of naming horses, none more so than when he changed a colt’s name from Yaazer to Dubai Millennium before that horse won the 2000 Dubai World Cup.
Masar is named after an academic and expatriate exchange training program that was set up under Sheikh Mohammed’s patronage.
The students are likely to be at Epsom today. As is Sheikh Mohammed. It remains to be seen whose vision will become reality on these rolling downs south of London.


Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

Updated 25 April 2019
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Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

  • Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games
  • Title rivals Liverpool are just one point behind

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to win the Premier League title after his side brushed aside Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to top the table again.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games, with Liverpool a point behind. Both sides have just three games remaining.
“I understand the pressure we have and obviously here at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard running behind,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I told them we needed to play to win, it doesn’t matter if we concede.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three gaurgesmes left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.”
“Both teams deserve the title,” he added. “But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm.”