John Gosden’s King George and Eclipse winner, the intended mount of William Buick, returned unsatisfactory blood tests when he was found to have had a temperature yesterday.
“Considering how close we are to the race, we cannot consider running him,” said James Wigan, racing manager to owner Lady Rothschild.
Newsells Park Stud, who co-own the horse, were also left cursing their bad luck.
General manager Julian Dollar tweeted: “Nathaniel a non-runner. I’m using every profanity I know right now, plus a few I’ve just invented!”
The setback came to light just hours after the German filly Danedream, last year’s Arc heroine, was officially scratched from the Longchamp classic.
It comes after Cologne racecourse, where Peter Schiergen’s fantastic mare is stabled, was dramatically placed into quarantine and shut down for three months after a horse tested positive for a serious equine infection of the blood. All horses based at Cologne cannot leave the racecourse, including Danedream.
The timing of the closure could not have been worse for Danedream’s connections.
Patrick Barbe, racing manager for her part-owner Teruya Yoshida, said yesterday: “The quarantine is round the racetrack and nothing can come in and out of there for three months.
“That situation at the moment is final and binding. If the race was in two weeks they might have found a solution.”
With Ed Dunlop’s globetrotting Snow Fairy, who beat Nathaniel in last month’s Irish Champion Stakes also on the sidelines, Japanese challenger Orfevre heads the 16 remaining entries.
The defections increase the chances of Aidan O’Brien saddling Camelot, the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby winner who failed to land the Triple Crown at Doncaster when beaten by Encke in the Ladbrokes St Leger.
The trainer’s biggest concern is the riding arrangements – Camelot only having to carry 8st 11lb because three-year-olds receive a weight allowance. However it is unclear whether O’Brien’s son Joseph, who is six feet tall, can make the weight – he rarely rides lighter than 9st and a starvation diet is likely to hinder his strength at the business end of the race.
The situation became even more complicated when Sir Michael Stoute confirmed that Royal Ascot winner Sea Moon is a likely runner and will be ridden by Ryan Moore. The former champion jockey, who is returning from injury, has ridden for O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables when available.
n Connections of Sir Michael Stoute’s Telescope are still considering whether to let the exciting Newmarket maiden winner shoot for Group One glory in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on October 27.
The son of Galileo is a best priced 16-1 for next year’s Derby. Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, will leave Stoute to decide whether the youngster will run again as a juvenile.