Stoute biding his time with Bay Bridge

Sir Michael Stoute has confirmed he will wait for easier ground before unleashing Bay Bridge.

The master trainer has also not ruled out a possible tilt at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes for Derby winner Desert Crown.

Bay Bridge was fourth to Vadeni when favourite for last season’s Coral-Eclipse and while he held an entry for Saturday’s renewal, connections decided to forgo the opportunity.

The son of New Bay earned top-class honours when taking the scalps of both 2021 Derby victor Adayar and the previously unbeaten multiple Group One winner Baaeed in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October.

However, he has run three times this term at the top level and fallen short, although he was a half-length runner-up to Luxembourg in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, before finishing seven lengths behind runaway winner Mostahdaf in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Stoute will pick his moment for the James Wigan and Ballylinch Stud-owned Bay Bridge, once there is sufficient cut underfoot.

He said: “There are no plans for Bay Bridge, we want some nice in the juice in the ground for him.”

Meanwhile, Desert Crown is cantering again ahead of a possible run in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Last year’s impressive winner of Epsom’s blue riband suffered a minor ankle injury thereafter and missed the remainder of the season.

On his belated return, following a 355-day lay-off, he was touched off by Hukum in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown in May.

He looked impressive in his work a few days before his intended run in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, but following a routine piece of work, he was scratched from the race after he was found to be lame.

“The hitch he had was very minor and when they investigated there was nothing,” said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Saeed Suhail, who owns the colt.

“He missed a few days, unfortunately at the wrong time. He was just a bit lame, they go lame, don’t they?

“I just know that he is cantering and in full exercise. I would be hopeful, but can’t tell you when he’ll run, as I don’t know. I would be hopeful it would be the King George, but that decision will be up to Sir Michael.

“I very much like what I’ve been seeing from him when cantering. He looked a bigger, stronger horse at Sandown. I don’t think there is anything to worry about at all.”

Stoute remains non-committal about Desert Crown’s next target, although he holds engagements in the Ascot middle-distance showpiece – for which he is a best-priced 10-1 chance – York’s Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes.

Stoute added: “No, we haven’t got any plans for him yet. He is back cantering. He is on the move again.

“We are not going to make any plans yet. We’re not going to do anything yet, we’ll wait until we get him in strong work, but I don’t know yet when that will be.”

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