Saudi Arabian dreams of a Derby runner are over for another year after Crossed Baton failed to pass his entrance exam in the Dante Stakes at York.
Crossed Baton had no answer to the professional performance of stablemate Roaring Lion in the key Derby trial in the north of England.
After running keenly in the opening stages of the ten-furlong Group 2 contest, his tank emptied in a sprint to the winning post and he finished seventh of the nine runners.
Owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, the colt has an automatic entry to the Derby at Epsom on June 2 courtesy of his win at Epsom last month but he will skip the race and head to next month’s Royal Ascot meeting.
“He didn’t quite finish his race out and did not run his race,” trainer John Gosden said.
“He is better than that but he is not as good as the winner.
“Frankie Dettori said that the race was not quite run to suit him. I was at him quite early in the year.
“We’ll freshen up, and run him in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot."
Godolphin’s inexperienced Nordic Lights fared slightly better on his third career start to finish fifth under William Buick, and the son of French Classic winner Intello could also be aimed at the royal meeting.
“I was very happy with him,” trainer Charlie Appleby said.
“We came in to it thinking it was a big ask for him. They went steady up front, he got in to a nice rhythm and he learnt plenty. He will be a nice horse going forward. We might look at something like the Tercentenary at Royal Ascot or the King Edward.”
If Saudi Arabian hopes were dashed, Dubai still has representatives engaged.
Appleby still has Craven winner Masar in the world’s most significant race, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, has the talented Dee Ex Bee entered. The Aga Khan, the Nizari Ismailis’ Imam, who has won the Derby five times with Shergar, Shahrastani, Kahyasi, Sinndar and Harzand, is likely to run Hazapour, the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner.