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Cracksman digs deep to lift Investec Coronation Cup

1 Jun 2018

The highest-rated horse in Europe stared defeat in face at Epsom before getting up to win by a head.

Cracksman, left, collars Salouen in the final strides of the Coronation Cup. Picture: Racingfotos.com

The best horses find a way to overcome adversity and that is what Cracksman did in scrambling to a head victory in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom.

The John Gosden-trained colt was the highest-rated horse in Europe last season following a scintillating display in the Champion Stakes at Ascot and had shone on his return in the Prix Ganay last month.

As a consequence the son of Frankel was a prohibitively-priced 2-7 favourite to claim a third Group One success, but he never looked comfortable and it was only in the final strides that he and Frankie Dettori overhauled the front-running Salouen, sent off at 33-1 under Silvestre De Sousa.

“He doesn’t really enjoy galloping downhill and when I wanted to close the gap, I couldn’t,” Dettori said. “Silvestre (de Sousa, on Salouen) got five lengths on me and made it really hard work. Once we flattened out the turbo kicked in, but we had to work for this one.

“You didn’t see the best of him today, he was never happy on the track, he’s so big, and we know he’s a better horse than he showed today. He showed his class, as any other horse would have just downed tools and finished second.”

He added: “I didn’t think I was going to get there until the last five yards. It was a massive effort to make that ground up.”

Gosden said: “Frankie was very clear he doesn’t really handle the track, he got in a muddle coming down the hill and wasn’t really travelling at any stage.

“He doesn’t like racing down a hill, he found it awkward, and it wasn’t until he went uphill that he was happy and he accelerated.

“He wasn’t comfortable at any stage, until the last 50 yards.”

German raider Windstoss kept on to be beaten about four lengths into third, but Idaho and Hawkbill disappointed.