Royal Ascot: Cracksman can show his champion form

JOHN GOSDEN is confident that Cracksman will show champion qualities in today's Prince of Wales's Stakes '“ Royal Ascot's day two highlight '“ and show why he should be regarded as Europe's top middle-distance horse.

One to watch: Frankie Dettori celebrates after Cracksman won last year's Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.
One to watch: Frankie Dettori celebrates after Cracksman won last year's Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

Imperious in last year’s Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, season-ending Champion Stakes at Asco and then again on his reappearance this year in the Prix Ganay at Paris-Longchamp, it took all of Frankie Dettori’s guile for the four-year-old to beat outsider Salouen in Epsom’s Coronation Cup.

“He is fine. It was a bit of a muddle at Epsom, but he got the job done,” said Gosden. “It would not be the ideal prep race coming in, but we are happy to run him and he is in good form at home.

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“The horse was a little bit at sea all the time at Epsom. He did whack his head in the stalls. I could understand why he didn’t like coming down the hill. He seems happy at the moment. This is summer racing on fast summer ground so it is a different ball game.”

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer said: “I hope he will be the star attraction, but you can never tell. It was amazing he won at Epsom.”

The biggest danger appears to be former Eclipse winner Hawkbill for the Epsom Derby-winning combination of trainer Charlie Appleby and William Buick while Martyn Meade’s Eminent, the mount of Oisin Murphy, looks to return to form after disappointing at Chester.

On a fiercely competitive day, Kodyanna – winner of Beverley’s prestigious Hilary Needler Trophy – represents Malton trainer Richard Fahey, and jockey Paul Hanagan, in the opening Queen Mary Stakes for two-year-old fillies. She has every chance.

The Queen, who has 23 Royal Ascot winners to her name, has hopes of another after Seniority, trained by Skipton-born William Haggas, made the cut for the Royal Hunt Cup following the defection of stable companion Mubtasim due to lameness. James Doyle rides.