'Everything Was Done to Try To Save Him': Derby Hero Desert Crown Euthanised

Sir Michael Stoute with Desert Crown after winning The Cazoo Derby Newmarket 6.6.22 Pic Dan Abraham-focusonracing.com

Desert Crown (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), the brilliant winner of the 2022 Derby, has been euthanised at Newmarket Equine Hospital after failing to recover from an injury sustained on the gallops in August.

“Everything was done to try to save him, we thought he was making progress but then he just started going backwards,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Desert Crown was bred by Gary Robinson of Strawberry Fields Stud. He made just one appearance as a two-year-old to post a facile maiden victory at Nottingham and reappeared at three, the jungle drums banging loudly in the build-up to the G2 Dante S., which he won in imperious fashion to prompt him being backed into favouritism for the Derby. Similarly commanding at Epsom, he gave jockey Richard Kingscote his first Derby victory and his trainer a sixth success in the race since Shergar (GB) in 1981.

Desert Crown was beaten for the first time in what transpired to be his final start of only a four-race career when second to Hukum (GB) in the G3 Brigadier Gerard S. this spring. In preparation for an intended start in the G1 Juddmonte International he fractured his off-fore fetlock on Sunday, August 20 and was transported immediately to Newmarket Equine Hospital for surgery. He has remained there until the decision was taken for him to be humanely put down on Monday afternoon.

Robinson added, “With a severe injury like that there is a lot of pressure with the weight of the animal standing on it, but we really thought he was going to get there and it's very sad he didn't make it.

“You can try and help them with supports for the leg but at the end of the day they've got to be able to stand on their own. He had the best available treatment anywhere in the world, if he couldn't be saved here then he couldn't be saved anywhere.

“He was a fantastic horse and his Derby win was an incredible day that we'll never forget.”

James Savage, assistant trainer to Sir Michael Stoute, said, “He was a brilliant racehorse with an exceptional mind and we never really got to the bottom of him. We always thought that he was going to be a better horse with each race. To win a Derby on his third start was amazing in itself really. It's very sad. He could have reached the moon.”

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