Cracksman primed for Coronation Cup

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May 23, 2018 - 06:39 AM

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Having made a winning return to action in the Prix Ganay at ParisLongchamp, Cracksman will now bid to complete a hat-trick of Group One wins and give John Gosden his first victory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Gosden believes Cracksman is a vastly different horse from the one who finished third in last year's Derby at the course.

The victory of the Champion Stakes winner in France was given a timely boost on Saturday, with fourth-placed Rhododendron claiming the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

"He went to ParisLongchamp about 85-90 per cent (fit). He has come on since then and we are very pleased with him," Gosden said.

"He has won over the track and he was third in the Derby when he was probably lacking the maturity he had later in the year.

"He won his only start nicely at Newmarket as a two-year-old, but to me he was the unfinished product when he ran in the Derby.

"We gave him a holiday through the middle of the summer and he came back twice the horse he was. Like his father (Frankel), he has a great stride on him."

Rival trainer Charlie Appleby believes soft ground is no longer an essential requirement for dual Group One winner Hawkbill who begins his European campaign in the race on June 1 after finishing third in 2017.

"I know we've got Cracksman to beat, but we are pleased with our fellow," he said.

"He was always stamped as a soft-ground horse, but he ran well on quick ground in last year's Coronation Cup and he put up a career-best performance on good ground in the Sheema Classic."

Aidan O'Brien could give five-year-old Idaho the chance to emulate his brother Highland Reel after he returned to winning ways last time out in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester.