Cracksman comes good for Gosden

TOP TEAM: John Gosden with Cracksman. Picture: Geoffrey Pieters
TOP TEAM: John Gosden with Cracksman. Picture: Geoffrey Pieters
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Newmarket trainer John Gosden hailed Cracksman after the three-year-old stormed to victory during Saturday’s QIPCO Champions Stakes at Ascot.

The Anthony Oppenheimer-owned horse’s seven-length win was notable for a variety of reasons, given that it was jockey Frankie Dettori’s first victory in the race and also a maiden Group 1 success in Europe for Cracksman’s sire, Frankel, who himself took the QIPCO Champions Stakes in 2012.

“Cracksman is very talented. He loves rearing up and did that in the saddling box beforehand,” said Gosden.

“They went a sensible place and Ryan (Moore, riding Highland Reel) went the Willie Carson route (on the far side of the track).

“Frankie rode Cracksman beautifully and positively in the straight. We said to come wide because the inside has been used a lot today.

“He’s improved through the year. He ran a blinder in the Derby (to finish third), was unlucky in Ireland (finishing second by a neck in the Irish Derby) but boy, with Capri the form was good, but he seems to have got bigger and stronger.

“He’s like a fighter weighing more now — if he started as a middleweight, he’s now a light-heavyweight.

“He handles this ground — he handles good to firm as well, which is great. He handled the ground probably better than anyone and he’s won in true style.”

Gosden also had further success in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes thanks to 8/1 shot Persuasive.

The four-year-old daughter of Dark Angel relished underfoot conditions and kept on tenaciously to win through.

After the race, Gosden confirmed Persuasive would now be retired.

“She is very talented and has had no luck in Group 1s before today,” he said.

“She will now go to the breeding shed so it’s nice to go out on a high.”

Meanwhile, Newmarket-based Silvestre De Sousa was crowned Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Champion for a second time.

De Sousa racked up 155 wins this season, 44 ahead of his nearest rival and 2016 champion jockey Jim Crowley.

He said: “It’s been a really great season and I appreciate everyone who has put me up this year — it’s been very successful.

“I love to win but my aim was to win the title. Winning this is a great day, it’s a great achievement.”

Godolphin received the Champion Owner Award following an excellent season for the operation, which included six Royal Ascot winners.