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"You can't go to a race like this 95% fit" - Desert Crown out of King George

By Jon Vine
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15 Jul 2022
  • Desert Crown has been ruled out of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes
  • Sir Michael Stoute's Epsom Derby winner has suffered a minor hoof injury
  • The Juddmonte International Stakes could be his next target
  • Westover is now the even-money favourite to win at Ascot on Saturday 23rd July
desert crown
Richard Kingscote riding Desert Crown to victory in the Cazoo Derby during Cazoo Derby meeting at Epsom. (Getty)
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Following a superb victory in the Epsom Derby, Desert Crown was made the short-priced favourite for the 2022 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

On Thursday, Sir Michael Stoute broke the news that Desert Crown had missed a key piece of work ahead of a possible trip to Ascot. Stoute then delivered the expected news this morning, telling PA News Agency that "the colt (Desert Crown) won't be going to Ascot for the King George."

Brue Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, expanded on the news, revealing the injury was only a minor one.

"You can't go to a race like this 95% fit." Raymond said. "If it were a lesser horse, we might take a chance, but you dare not take a chance with a horse like this." 

When asked when Desert Crown would return to action, Raymond didn't give a definitive answer. He did, however, mention the Juddmonte International Stakes at York's Ebor Festival as the next likely objective.

"Only time will tell, but hopefully he'll be able to get him back - although Michael didn't say anything to me - I'm thinking about York (Juddmonte International) and then the Arc."

Desert Crown is currently the second-favourite for the 2022 Juddmonte International Stakes, where the unbeaten Baaeed tops the betting. Sir Michael Stoute's Derby winner also sits prominently in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe betting, with Betfair offering a top price of 3/1.

In Desert Crown's absence, Westover has been cut into evens to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Mishriff was cut into 3/1 second-favouritism on Friday, with Torquator Tasso the only other runners sitting on a single-figure price.


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