Trainer Kevin Prendergast believes the prevailing fast ground was to blame for Awtaad’s below-par performance in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last week.
The Cape Cross colt saw off 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold in the Irish version at the Curragh in May, but the tables were turned in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, with Awtaad having to settle for third place behind Hugo Palmer’s star colt and Aidan O’Brien’s French Guineas hero The Gurkha.
The trio clashed once more on the Sussex Downs, but while The Gurkha and Galileo Gold fought out a thrilling finish, with the former prevailing, Awtaad came home a well-beaten eighth.
Prendergast said: “He came home fine. He’s a little bit tired and stiff, but other than that he’s all right.
“I think the ground was just too fast for him – he’s a good-ground horse.
“I was disappointed, but these things happen and we live to fight another day.
“No decision has been made on where we go next with him. The main thing is to get him back on song.
“He was only beaten a length and three-quarters at Ascot and was only half a length behind the winner the other day.
“He’ll be all right.”