Desert Crown have been left out of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco stakes next week at Ascot, coach Sir Michael Stoute has confirmed.
The impressive Derby winner was due to face third-placed Epsom Westover again in 12-stadium Group 1 on Saturday week, but his manager announced he would not race.
Colt Nathaniel, who is unbeaten in three starts so far, reportedly suffered a ‘foot problem’ on Wednesday, with Stoute providing an update to the PA news agency on Thursday, saying: ‘The colt is not going well. Ascot for the King George.”
Bruce Raymond, race director for owner Saeed Suhail, said Desert Crown could not be risked, despite what he considered a minor injury.
He said: “He had a foot injury and had a scan, although I don’t know the final results of the scan. Michael (Stoute) has just told me he won’t be able to race in the King George.
“Nothing to worry about, but whatever it was, they caught him before it was too late.
“They nipped something in the bud. Its preparation would be too close to racing to continue.
“If it was a lesser horse, we could take a chance, but you don’t dare take a chance with a horse like this.
“You can’t go to a race like this 95% fit.
“Only time will tell, but hopefully he can get it back – even though Michael hasn’t told me – I’m thinking York (Juddmonte International) and then the Arc.”