The much-awaited clash between Motivator and Shamardal in Saturday's Coral Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) is off, because of a career ending injury to the latter horse.
The Godolphin colt, winner of three successive group I races this season after flopping on the dirt in Dubai, was found to have suffered a fracture to his right fore fetlock after training on Wednesday. The injury was diagnosed Thursday night and his retirement confirmed Friday. With six wins from seven runs, Shamardal earned $1,931,770 during his career.
A decision has yet to be taken as to where he will take up stud duties, but as a son of Giant's Causeway
, last season's champion European juvenile is a hugely valuable prospect as a stallion, particularly in the wake of his hat trick of wins in the French Two Thousand Guineas (Fr-I), French Derby (Fr-I), and St James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I).
The shocking news was announced at around 10:45 a.m. Friday (UK time) on Godolphin's Web site. "It is very disappointing that this injury has occurred," said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "We were looking forward so much to running him against Motivator and the others in the Eclipse. He would have had a great chance in the race as he was in tremendous form."
Racing manager Simon Crisford added: "Any horse who captures four group Is, including two classics, has to be very special and he always showed tremendous speed and courage in his races. He could not have been more impressive in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot."
Shamardal was described as "a great horse to be around, very uncomplicated, a real champion" by his jockey Frankie Dettori.
Motivator is now a 1-2 shot to win the Eclipse, over 10 furlongs at Sandown, in his first start since winning the Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I).