2022 Epsom Derby winner Desert Crown is to return from his break at York's Ebor meeting next week where he is set to race in the Group One Juddmonte International.
The four year old son of Nathaniel was a 280,000gns purchase as a yearling and has been seen twice to date, winning both events emphatically.
Running once last season as a juvenile over 8.5f at Nottingham in November, the colt went on to beat a smart field by close to six lengths.
Saved for his three year old season and said to be only 80% fit for his first outing in the Group Two Dante Stakes at York, he went on to rout a good field by nearly four lengths.
The performance was extremely taking and he went on to improve again when last seen readily pulling away from the field to land the Group One Epsom Derby by 2 1/2 lengths.
He was off since that with a setback but with Sir Michael Stoute being very patient with him, he returned this season at Sandown in the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes and looking the winner in the final furlong he was outstayed late on by the more experienced Hukum.
Again picking up a small setback since, Stoute has been working him back up slowly and having missed his latest engagement in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, he is now set to return in the Group One Juddmonte International.
(Credit ATR) “Desert Crown worked this morning, he worked nicely and everybody was happy with him,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.
“He’s not a great worker, as has been stated before, but everyone was very happy with him this morning and everything went as well as expected.”
Champion jockey William Buick had been announced as his jockey in the King George before he was ruled out, but the rider is expected to team up with him next week for the first time.
“William didn’t ride him. Ryan Moore rode him this morning. He’s ridden him a lot of times at home and Sir Michael just sometimes likes a different opinion,” Raymond added.
“It’s really shaping up into a great race. One thing I can definitely tell you is this horse needed it badly at Sandown, it wasn’t said at the time but Michael was quite surprised how much he was blowing afterwards.
“He had worked on the grass but nowhere near as much as we would have liked as it kept on pouring down.
“Having spoken to Richard Hills (assistant racing manager for Shadwell, owners of Hukum), their horse had been working really, really well for a long time, so we met a very fit horse that day and he’s gone on to prove again he is a very good horse as he’s one of the favourites for the Arc.
“We’re looking forward to next week. Where else could you take a horse like that? He’s got to go somewhere and when you are in his class, there are only certain races you can run in.”