July Cup for Redkirk Warrior

Australian sprinter Redkirk Warrior is set to press on to next month's Group 1 July Cup (1200m) despite his uncharacteristic flop in Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Trainer David Hayes reported that the seven-year-old had come through his unplaced run behind Merchant Navy in satisfactory order and said connections had put the performance - the son of Notnowcato wilted late to finish more than 12 lengths adrift of the winner - down to the horse having an 'off day'.

And while he was quick to deflect any blame away from jockey Frankie Dettori, Hayes flagged the possibility of a rider change for the half-a-million pound feature at Newmarket on July 14.

Regan Bayliss was aboard Redkirk Warrior for his three Group 1 wins in the Newmarket Handicap (twice) and Black Caviar Lightning but connections opted to utilise the services of Dettori at Royal Ascot.

"We were really disappointed with the run," Hayes said.

"History tells us that he's let us down very few times but every time he's travelled he's never run to his best so there was always that nagging doubt in the back of our minds.

"Looking forward, Newmarket is where he's trained, he doesn't have to travel and he worked very well on the course proper there so we think that we're here, we might give him one more chance (in the July Cup).

"His best form is as good as the winner (Merchant Navy) so if we can get him back in form and change a couple of things in the next two or three weeks, he can turn things around because he's got the ability.

"Frankie rode the horse perfectly, there's no complaints about Frankie (but) we may have a change of rider (for the July Cup) because he didn't run for Frankie."

Merchant Navy remains a chance to chase a third Group 1 win in the July Cup before returning to Australia for stud duties, while Godolphin will also make a call on whether defending champion Harry Angel lines up in the coming weeks.

Merchant Navy and Ryan Moore winning the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on Saturday, picture Liesl King