Michael Dods will target Qipco British Champions Day with his star filly Azure Blue after ruling her out of a potential outing this weekend.
The four-year-old made a flying start to her campaign, with a comeback victory in Listed company at Newmarket followed by a narrow defeat of Highfield Princess in the Duke of York Stakes.
She was sixth when stepped up to Group One level for the July Cup and subsequently missed an intended tilt at the Nunthorpe at York after suffering a minor foot problem.
Azure Blue could have returned this weekend in either Saturday’s Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock or the Flying Five at the Curragh on Sunday, but Dods has again had to put plans on hold.
“We’ve had a bit of an issue. She seems all right now, but we just didn’t think she’d be ready,” said the Darlington-based trainer.
“She had the foot problem before York and then she had a bit of an ulcer problem and we just had to deal with it.
“We’re happy enough with her, she just wouldn’t have been ready to run this weekend.”
Azure Blue will now either contest the British Champions Sprint on October 21 or be roughed off until next season.
Dods added: “If we didn’t have her for Ascot we probably wouldn’t be bothering, I’d probably leave her and have her ready for the start of next season. That would be the plan.
“It’s disappointing, but there’s always another day and we’ll just have to wait until we see her at 100 per cent.”