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Desert Crown Euthanized After Suffering Setback

Last year’s Derby (G1) winner Desert Crown  has had to be put down after failing to recover from the serious fetlock injury he suffered on the Newmarket gallops in August.

Saeed Suhail’s star sustained the fracture in the build-up to his intended run in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt was thought to be on the road to recovery, but his injuries were found to be too severe for him to be saved. He was put down on Monday afternoon at the Newmarket Equine Hospital, where surgeons had battled to save him.

Stoute said: “Sarah Deniff was in charge of his yard and did a wonderful job with Desert Crown. Ravi did the horse and Glen Magee rode him a lot last year. Kevin Bradshaw and Ted Durcan rode all the fast work on him and they were all big contributors to his success.”

Suhail’s racing manager Bruce Raymond said: “Desert Crown was a great horse and was destined to be one of the best if he hadn’t had this injury. He was one of the easiest winners of the Derby I can remember, and it’s a great shame we’ve lost him.

“He fractured his off-fore leg, for which he had to have 16 screws inserted. Everything seemed to be going well, but he put so much pressure on his near-fore when he stood on it that it was unsustainable. He was put down humanely at NEH, where the surgeons have been outstanding.”

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Before his setback, the son of Nathaniel  was on the way back from a minor injury that kept him out of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at Ascot in July. On his only outing this year, he finished second to Hukum  in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes (G3) at Sandown in May.

Desert Crown won three of his four starts, including the 2022 Dante Stakes (G2) and most memorably the Derby, in which he was an impressive winner over Hoo Ya Mal  and Westover .

He first came to prominence when winning a Nottingham maiden by five and a half lengths under Richard Kingscote on his debut in November 2021. Plans to give him a second run in a novice in the spring were scuppered by a small setback so Stoute pitched him into the Dante Stakes at York in May.

Following an impressive three-and-a-quarter-length winner from Royal Patronage  he was promoted to favoritism for the Derby, which he won at odds of 5-2. A first clash with his elders in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot the following month was shelved after a setback, and he failed to run again in 2022.

After reappearing in the Brigadier Gerard, a series of minor issues ruled him out of Royal Ascot before his final injury just days before the Juddmonte International in August.  

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