Cracksman spearheads Champion Stakes entries

John Gosden’s colt one of 49 possible contenders in Ascot Group One

  • Wednesday 08 August
  • News
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Owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer is keen to see Cracksman defend his crown in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

John Gosden’s colt was revealed as one of 49 entries for the £1.3million contest, the centrepiece on Qipco British Champions Day on October 20.

Cracksman was a brilliant seven-length winner of the 10-furlong contest last season and kicked off the current campaign with a dominant display in the Prix Ganay in France.

However, he was below-par when landing the Coronation Cup at Epsom and was no match for Poet’s Word on his latest appearance in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Reflecting on last year’s triumph, Oppenheimer said: “Cracksman was absolutely in his element last year and it was a marvellous day.

“There no question the race will be considered (again).”

Having missed last month’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on account of unsuitable ground, Cracksman could make his next start in the Juddmonte International at York on August 22.

Oppenheimer added: “I’ve seen him at the stable this week, he looks fantastic and we’re just waiting for the rain. If it rains at York and the ground is good to soft, he’ll run at York. If it’s like it has been recently, he won’t.

“He’s got a very good possibility of running at Ascot. He’s had a long rest. As long as it’s good ground or good to soft, he’ll run, probably.

“He’s going to run in the Arc, too, but he can do both.”

Cracksman is one of 23 individual Group One winners entered for the Qipco Champion Stakes, with stablemates Enable and Roaring Lion among his potential opponents.

Enable has not been seen in competitive action since landing last season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while Roaring Lion opened his account at the highest level in last month’s Coral-Eclipse.

David Redvers, racing and bloodstock manager to Roaring Lion’s owner Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing, said, “Roaring Lion will have both the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Qipco Champion Stakes as options (on Champions Day).

“He’ll be running in the Juddmonte International at York next, and then we will have to discuss his autumn campaign.”

Aidan O’Brien’s 2000 Guineas hero Saxon Warrior was just a neck behind Roaring Lion in the Eclipse and could renew rivalry.

The Ballydoyle handler has 16 contenders in all, with St Leger winner Capri and the well-travelled Mendelssohn also in contention.

He said: “Saxon Warrior stayed on strongly in the Eclipse at Sandown last time and ran a good race.

“At the moment, we’re looking at the Juddmonte International at York for him next and then we will have a better idea of which route to take afterwards. He has entries in both the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Champion Stakes and could go for either race.”

Other possible contenders include the French-trained pair of Study Of Man and Recoletos, Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl and the Joseph O’Brien-trained Irish Derby scorer Latrobe.

Cracksman spearheads Champion Stakes entries
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