Desert Crown has been ruled out of next week’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.

The impressive Derby winner had been due to clash again with Epsom third Westover in the 12-furlong Group 1 on Saturday week, but his trainer Sir Michael Stoute has announced he will not run.

The Nathaniel colt, who is unbeaten in three starts so far, was reported to be suffering a “foot niggle” on Wednesday.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail, said Desert Crown could not be risked, despite what he felt was a minor injury.

He said: “He has had a foot injury and has had a scan, although I don’t know the final results of the scan. Michael (Stoute) just said to me he won’t be able to run in the King George.

“There is nothing untoward, but whatever it is, they have caught it before it is too late.

“They have nipped something in the bud. His preparation would come too close to the race to press on with it.

“If it were a lesser horse, we might take a chance, but you dare not take a chance with a horse like this.

“You can’t go to a race like this 95% fit.

“Only time will tell, but hopefully he’ll be able to get him back – although Michael didn’t say anything to me – I’m thinking about York (Juddmonte International) and then the Arc.”