Cracksman declared for King George at Ascot

John Gosden banking on the arrival of forecast rain

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Cracksman could yet take his chance in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes after featuring among eight declarations for Saturday’s showpiece at Ascot.

Trainer John Gosden revealed earlier this week that his star colt would be “looking for thunderstorms” in Berkshire, with connections keen to avoid fast ground following his defeat in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

While his participation is by no means certain at this stage, owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer felt it was worth declaring his three-year-old, who is set to be ridden by Rab Havlin, in the hope the rain arrives on Friday.

He told Press Association Sport: “If the ground is good it would be a shame not to let him run.

“There is some rain forecast for Friday and possibly Friday night. If the ground is good to firm then he won’t run as we know he can’t handle that.

“Mr Gosden will walk the track and we’ll see what happens.”

Oppenheimer added: “He’s going like a bomb at home and it would be fun to see him run, but I don’t think it would be fair on the public or the horse to run him on fast ground. We want to give him a chance.

“There are some pretty large thunderstorms forecast, so we’ll just have to hope they materialise.”

Should Cracksman line up, he will face a rematch with his Prince of Wales’s Stakes conqueror Poet’s Word, one of two major contenders for Sir Michael Stoute along with Hardwicke Stakes hero Crystal Ocean.

Gosden has also declared high-class mare Coronet.

Aidan O’Brien has whittled his team down to just two. With Kew Gardens a notable absentee, the Ballydoyle handler will rely upon Hydrangea, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore, and Rostropovich.

The Sylvester Kirk-trained Salouen and Desert Encounter from David Simcock’s yard complete the line-up.

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