Verdana Blue ruled out of Cesarewitch with setback

Verdana Blue

The Nicky Henderson trained dual purpose runner Verdana Blue has been ruled out of the Cesarewitch on Saturday having been a leading contender for the 2m2f handicap event.

The eight year old has suffered an injury setback which will rule her out for the end of the flat season but we should see her again over hurdles during the national hunt year, with good ground the mares prerogative for ground.

The mare was previously owned by Crimbourne Bloodstock but recently changed hands for £370,000, and is now owned by Michael Tabor’s wife, Doreen.

The 10/1 shot for the Cesarewitch has had an elusive career as back in 2019 she managed to land the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Kempton inflicting a first defeat in 12 on stablemate Buveur D’Air.

She also landed the Scottish Champion hurdle that year on her penultimate start before trying her hand on the flat when fourth in the Sagaro Stakes behind Dee Ex Bee who was second in the 2019 Ascot Gold Cup.

Since then she has predominantly been tried on the flat and this season she has been seen twice finishing a good second in the Ascot Stakes at the royal meeting and then last time out another bright third in the York Ebor meeting.

Henderson told the PA news agency: “She has got an abscess in her foot and is not going to make the Cesarewitch, I’m afraid. We’ve had to give her something to relieve it and unfortunately she can’t run. She had worked at the weekend and everything was fine.

“She’s one of the shorter-priced runners and we wanted to say something.”

He added: “I’m hopeful there are races for her next weekend – she’s in the two-mile race at Ascot (Long Distance Cup on Saturday), but very possibly if Ascot is soft she could go to Kempton (on Sunday) for the Listed hurdle there, where she’d get her ground with a bit of luck.”