Desert Hero still has a chance of competing at the Melbourne Cup

Royal colt Desert Hero remains in with a chance of competing at the Melbourne Cup after finishing third at Doncaster while watched by King Charles and Queen Camilla

  • Desert Hero still has a chance of competing for the Melbourne Cup
  • The royal colt finished third in Saturday’s Betfred St Leger at Doncaster

An ambitious tilt at the Melbourne Cup with royal colt Desert Hero remains an option after recording a career-best run when finishing third in Saturday’s Betfred St Leger at Doncaster for King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Desert Hero needs to begin the stringent set of veterinary tests demanded by the Australian racing authorities on Tuesday if he is to be sent for the country’s biggest race at Flemington on November 7.

Trainer William Haggas said: ‘All options for Desert Hero are still open. We are not going to make any decisions on his immediate or long-term future at the moment.’

The St Leger was only the fourth race of the season for Desert Hero and the seventh of his career.

Tom Marquand’s mount has improved with every start and races that have been mentioned by Haggas as potential targets in 2024 include the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at the track the following month. 

Royal colt Desert Hero could still have an opportunity for glory at the Melbourne Cup

Trainer William Haggas said he is excited for the future, with Desert Hero in good form

The trainer added: ‘If you take a line through Chesspiece, he beat him a neck (in the Group Three Gordon Stakes) at Goodwood and beat him comprehensively on Saturday. Anyone who looks at form closely will say that was his best ever run so we’re excited for the future.’

Meanwhile, a decision will be made midway through next week whether to supplement Aidan O’Brien’s impressive St Leger winner Continuous for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe which is run at Longchamp a week on Sunday.

Potentially influencing that decision for the Coolmore team is news that O’Brien’s Irish Oaks winner Savethelastdance, who had been prominent in the Arc betting, will miss the race.

O’Brien’s St Leger fourth Tower Of London remains a possible runner in the Melbourne Cup, a race the Irish trainer is yet to win.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla watched Desert Hero finish in third place at Doncaster

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