‘He was destined to be one of the best’: sad farewell to horse who won over £1m

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  • Desert Crown, who memorably won the 2022 Derby, has been put down after failing to recover from a serious fetlock injury he sustained on gallops in Newmarket in August.

    The four-year-old, who won three of his four starts, was trained by Sir Michael Stoute, owned by Saeed Suhail and bred by Strawberry Fields Stud. He picked up the injury while preparing for a tilt at winning the Group One Juddmonte International at York, but was believed to be on the road to recovery. But he was put down at Newmarket Equine Hospital (NEH) on Monday afternoon (23 October) after surgeons there concluded there was no more they could do to save him.

    Saeed Suhail’s racing manager Bruce Raymond told the Racing Post: “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.”

    Mr Raymond said Desert Crown fractured his off fore and had 16 screws inserted, but although “everything seemed to be going well”, the injury put too much pressure on his near fore.

    “He was put down humanely at NEH, where the surgeons have been outstanding,” he said.

    Desert Crown, out of Green Desert mare Desert Berry and by Nathaniel, whose progeny include the great Enable, won his debut at Nottingham in November 2021, his sole start as a two-year-old, and impressed in a stylish Dante victory at York in May 2022. His last run was in the Brigadier Gerard at Sandown in May, where he finished second to Hukum. He won £1,031,201 in his four-race career, such was the quality of races he was competing in.

    Desert Crown’s Derby victory was an impressive one – he was eased down to win by two and a half lengths under Richard Kingscote, for whom it was a first Derby triumph.

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