- Sire-Dam -
Cracksman established himself as one of the best middle-distance three-year-olds in training during 2017 and stole the show on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot when a stunning seven-length winner of the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
In the process, he provided Frankel with his first domestic Group 1 winner as a sire, plus he was a first winner in the £1.3 million showpiece for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
“He’s like a fighter weighing more now. If he started as a middleweight, he’s now a light-heavyweight,” Gosden said. “He’s improved through the year.”
Cracksman had surrendered his unbeaten record in the Investec Derbyduredycvextfbaezzrzbacabwe but went down on his sword, being beaten three quarters of a length and a neck into third behind Wings Of Eagles and Cliffs Of Moher.
Frankie Dettori had to niggle a way some way out in the Epsom Classic but Cracksman responded gamely and was keeping on stoutly at the finish. Dettori picked up a four-day whip ban.
“I think Frankie [Dettori] found that the horse was still a bit immature mentally about the whole thing,” explained trainer Gosden. “A couple of times, Frankie had to galvanise him, particularly at the top of the hill – you could see his elbows moving a little, it was even picked up by the commentator.
“He was running a bit babyishly – maybe he could have done with that other race beforehand – but he has run a grand race, he was just caught out for experience and wasn’t beaten far.”
“We’d be happy for a rematch – Cracksman is in the Irish Derby and it wouldn’t bother me going there at all, it is a nice galloping track and it would suit him.”
Cracksman did indeed take his chance at the Curragh and finished a short head in front on Wings Of Eagles (subsequently found to be injured) but it still was not quite enough for victory, with Capri holding him off by a neck.
He made no mistake next time, routing the opposition in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, before following up in similar decisive style in the Prix Niel at Chantilly. The came his demolition job on deep ground at Ascot, at the chief expense of Poet’s Word and Highland Reel.
“He can be laid back but today he travelled like a good horse,” said Dettori. “I kicked on and he just galloped right away – it was a fantastic feeling. He likes the ground. But I must say the Oppenheimers and John Gosden have done a fantastic job – the horse was half the horse in the summer that he is now, he’s been given time to develop and this is what they got in return.
“Today is Cracksman’s day – don’t ask me which one’s best between Enable and Cracksman. I was surprised at the way he’s travelled today because he can flop around a bit but he’s learning and getting stronger. The horse I rode at Epsom and the horse I rode today are two different horses.
Cracksman had won on his debut as a two-year-old, at Newmarket, and won the Derby Trial at Epsom in April on his return.
His connections believe he will be even better in 2018 and he went some way to proving that when gaining an emphatic win in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp on his reappearance, having previously had a racecourse gallop at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
He went off 2-7 next time for the Investec Coronation Cup but gave his supporters a huge scare, looking in trouble for much of the home straight and only collaring Salouen in the final strides to win by a head.
“He’s got a lot of guts and he’s got a lot of class,” Gosden said. “I could see from a long way out that Frankie’s elbows were just moving a little and, coming down Tattenham Corner, he wasn’t comfortable.
“I don’t know why but he wasn’t comfortable during the race – it certainly wasn’t the horse we know. However, he showed guts to get up and win and that’s what I’m pleased about.”
It later transpired that Cracksman had thumped his head leaving the starting gate, Gosden suggesting he might have been dazed in the early stages.
BCS Career statistics
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