Belardo (left) winning the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Keith Melrose 10:33AM 10 OCT 2016
BELARDO, a general 6-1 chance for the Qipco Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, has been retired to stud after meeting with a setback, trainer Roger Varian revealed on Monday morning.
In a post on his website, Varian said: “The timing of this setback is very unfortunate and I am disappointed for both [owners] Prince Faisal and Sheikh Mohammed that Belardo will not be able to run at Ascot on Saturday.
“The horse had been working exceptionally well in the build up to this race. However, he was not 100 percent following his last piece of work and we now do not have sufficient time to get him to the QEII. As such, connections have taken the decision to retire him.”
The news comes just hours before the five-day confirmations are revealed for the QEII and other races on British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
The race remains one of the most highly-anticipated on the card, with Ribchester now the 7-4 favourite with bet365 and Betfred, with Minding 11-4 and Galileo Gold 4-1.
Belardo was a dual Group 1 winner, taking the Dewhurst Stakes at two and adding the Lockinge earlier this year. He was last seen finishing second to Tepin in the Queen Anne on the opening day of Royal Ascot.
“Belardo has been a magnificent horse to train, winning Group 1 races at two and four as well as being crowned European champion juvenile,” Varian said. “His victories in the Dewhurst Stakes and Lockinge Stakes were special moments in my career and those wins will live long in the memory.
“The horse has been a pleasure to have around the yard and I am sure he will make a successful stallion as he embarks on the next stage of his career.”