John Gosden hoping for decent draw as Cracksman takes Champion test
Progressive colt gets go-ahead for big end-of-season prize.
John Gosden is keeping his fingers crossed for a favourable draw after confirming Cracksman will take his chance in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.
The three-year-old won the Voltigeur at York and the Prix Niel at Chantilly on his last two outings, adding to his third place in the Derby at Epsom back in June and second in the Irish equivalent.
Gosden and owner Anthony Oppenheimer then opted to sidestep a clash with stablemate Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe earlier this month, but the Newmarket handler has confirmed next Saturday’s 10-furlong prize is on Cracksman’s agenda.
He said: “He’s in great form. He had a nice holiday after the Irish Derby into York and another nice gap then to Chantilly for the Prix Niel, and he’s had another nice gap going into Ascot.
“He’s in good form and I’m very happy with him. Frankie Dettori was pleased with his work on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to running him in the Champion Stakes.
“I hope he doesn’t get a wide draw.”
Gosden also has Jack Hobbs among the entries for the Group One heat, but the five-year-old is not certain to take his chance and his racing days could be over.
The son of Halling has finished third in the last two renewals of the Champion Stakes and registered his first victory at the highest level in the Sheema Classic at Meydan in March.
However, Jack Hobbs subsequently disappointed on quick ground when last in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, while he was virtually pulled up when beaten 31 lengths by Enable in the King George in July.
Gosden said: “We will see through the week if we run him or not.
“That race (Prince of Wales’s) didn’t do him any good and it was unwise to run him in those temperatures on that ground, whereas the Sheema Classic was a very smart move.
“We will see how he works in the week, but there’s no final decision.
“I would have thought if he doesn’t run, he will not run again and I think a stud career will beckon.”
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