Owned by Prince A A Faisal and Godolphin, Belardo won the Lockinge Stakes earlier in the year before finishing runner-up to wonder-mare Tepin in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

The son of Lope de Vega had been training well in an attempt to go one better than last year’s second-place finish in the QEII, but an unfortunate injury setback means he will miss his intended engagement this weekend and the decision has subsequently been made to call time on his glittering career.

Roger said: “The timing of this setback is very unfortunate and I am disappointed for both Prince Faisal and Sheikh Mohammed that Belardo will not be able to run at Ascot on Saturday.

“The horse had been working exceptionally well in the build up to this race. However, he was not 100 percent following his last piece of work and we now do not have sufficient time to get him to the QEII. As such, connections have taken the decision to retire him.”

Belardo ends his career as the winner of five races from 16 starts having amassed a shade over £900,000 in prize money.

A comfortable two-length winner of the Dewhurst Stakes in 2014, he was crowned champion European two-year-old at the end of that season having provided his sire with a maiden top-flight winner.

He finished fourth in Irish 2,000 Guineas the following year, but posted a seasonal-best on his final start at three when getting within three-quarters of a length of Solow, the European champion miler who is unbeaten in his last 10 starts.

His crowing moment came in the Lockinge Stakes this season as Belardo, under the masterful guise of Andrea Atzeni, finished with a flourish to run-down Beverly D. Stakes winner Euro Charline and score by a length, with subsequent dual-Group 1 winner Limato two and a half lengths back in fourth.

Roger added: “Belardo has been a magnificent horse to train, winning Group 1 races at two and four as well as being crowned European champion juvenile. His victories in the Dewhurst Stakes and Lockinge Stakes were special moments in my career and those wins will live long in the memory.

“The horse has been a pleasure to have around the yard and I am sure he will make a successful stallion as he embarks on the next stage of his career.”

Belardo will join the stallion ranks at Darley when he retires to Kildangan Stud for the 2017 breeding season. 

Belardo and Andrea Atzeni winning the G1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May.