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Summer Mile could be a target for Queen Anne absentee Quddwah

Summer Mile could be a target for Queen Anne absentee Quddwah
Summer Mile could be a target for Queen Anne absentee Quddwah

An alternative target will be sought for Quddwah after the unbeaten colt was forced to sidestep next week’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A winner at Salisbury and Newmarket last season, the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained son of Kingman belatedly completed his hat-trick on his return from almost a year on the sidelines in last month’s Paradise Stakes over the Queen Anne course and distance.

Connections had been preparing Quddwah for the traditional royal meeting curtain-raiser since that victory in early May, but he was not among the confirmations on Wednesday, and Ed Crisford revealed the reason behind his defection.

“He had a bad blood (test result) and a bad scope, so unfortunately we’re going to have to miss the Queen Anne,” said the Newmarket handler on Wednesday.

“It was all systems go until yesterday, which was a bit of a shame, but these things happen with horses and we’ll have to aim him somewhere else, maybe the Summer Mile (at Ascot in July) or something.

“I wouldn’t have thought it will hold him up for too long, probably by next week he’ll be grand, but we’ve run out of time to be running in a Group One.”

The Gainsborough Stables team is still set to be represented in the Queen Anne, with Poker Face confirmed as an intended runner.

The five-year-old will be an outsider after finishing down the field in the Lockinge last month, but Crisford feel he is capable of better than he showed at Newbury.

Poker Face will line up in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot
Poker Face will line up in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot (Mike Egerton/PA)

He added: “He’s in good order and hopefully he can bounce back. It was a little bit of an odd race the Lockinge, just the way it worked out, it wasn’t just us the race didn’t suit, so I think you’ve got to slightly put a line through it and see how he goes next time.

“If he can bounce back to form, he should be in the mix.”

Perhaps the yard’s biggest hope of the meeting is Vandeek, who will look to bounce back from a first career defeat in the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock when he lines up as a leading contender for the Commonwealth Cup on Friday week.

Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile including Group One wins in the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes, the son of Havana Grey had to make do with minor honours in third on Merseyside behind the impressive Inisherin, who is once again set to be in opposition.

Crisford is expecting a fitter version of his stable star to turn up in Berkshire and while his Haydock reverse came in testing conditions, the trainer insists he will not be worried if the rain falls.

“Vandeek is super well, we’re very pleased with him and at the moment it’s all systems go,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to getting him to Ascot and he’s sure to improve from that first run.

“I’m not too concerned about the ground, he won on soft ground at Goodwood last year and heavy ground in France. He goes on the ground, but at Haydock was he was running against fit horses first time out and I think that’s what caught him out, it wasn’t necessarily the ground.

“They went a strong pace and he was taking on fit horses and that’s what it was, but we’ve got to move on from that now and we’re all looking forward to Ascot.”

Another horse set to be part of the Crisfords’ Royal Ascot squad is Cocked Hat Stakes winner Meydaan, although a decision has yet to made on whether he will contest the King Edward VII Stakes or step up in trip for the Queen’s Vase.

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