Poet’s Word created history in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes to give Sir Michael Stoute a record-breaking 76th Royal Ascot victory and lower the colours of Cracksman in the process.
In the Champion Stakes last October, Cracksman had beaten Poet’s Word by seven lengths and was expected to face a tough task in turning the tables.
While Cracksman had been lethargic when winning the Coronation Cup last time out, trainer John Gosden believed he had excuses.
But he was even more off his A-game this time and Frankie Dettori was working away on the long odds-on favourite soon after leaving the stalls.
To his credit, Cracksman hit the front in the straight, but he had no answer when James Doyle went sweeping past him.
Sent off at 11-2, Poet’s Word shot clear, leaving Cracksman’s connections scratching their heads.
Stoute, who was eclipsing the mark set by the late Sir Henry Cecil, said: “It’s a relief because we were stuck on it (75 winners) last year. It (Royal Ascot) is special to every trainer.
“We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of nice horses over the years.
“Maybe Cracksman isn’t at his best now, but we beat the others comprehensively. He’s a very consistent, brave horse.”
Gosden offered no excuses for Cracksman, saying: “I didn’t feel he was particularly helping the jockey at any stage. It was slightly noticeable at Epsom going up the hill. I make no excuses whatsoever.
“The other horse on the day had him covered from two out. To my mind he is just playing around a bit. He did it at Epsom, but he didn’t do it first time out at Longchamp.
“At no stage was he travelling or carrying Frankie (Dettori).
“We will get him home and sharpen him up a little bit. We will look into it before the King George, as that is how to play the game.
“The ability is there, but I didn’t feel he was generous with it today.”
Dettori said: “He’s not the same animal I’ve been riding in the spring.”
Expanding on his achievement, Stoute, who saddled his first Royal winner in 1977, said: “It means a lot – and to the whole stable, as well. Henry’s record was formidable because their were only four days of Royal Ascot in most of his career.
“We’re very glad it’s happened and it’s a great reflection of the staff.”
He added: “I’m grateful for anything, last year we had about 16 runners and five beaten favourites. It’s nice it happened then, but I’m just happy for it to happen.”
Of the winner, Stoute said: “I’m delighted for him. He’s been in at the deep end in Group Ones and performing very creditably. It was nice to see him win one.
“When they were 150 yards into the straight, I thought he would win from there.”