Review Of Saturday’s Champion Stakes: Cracksman Wins Back-to-back Champion Stakes In Impressive Fashion

To say that champion trainer elect John Gosden has had a good season would be a massive understatement. Dual Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe heroine Enable and multiple Group 1 winner Roaring Lion may have led the way towards a third trainer’ championship for Gosden but the Newmarket handler could not have enjoyed a victory more than that of Cracksman who produced the performance of Champions Day for a second year running when returning to his very best following a frustrating year for the son of Frankel, with a six length demolition job in the Qipco Champion Stakes under a euphoric Frankie Dettori.

Seven lengths separated Cracksman from the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Poet’s Word 12 months ago and on this occasion it was Stoute’s Crystal Ocean who suffered the pulverising, in almost identical circumstances. After the expected easy victory in Longchamp’s Prix Ganay on his seasonal reappearance things have not gone according to plan for connections of the four-year-old. A hard-earned win in Epsom’s Coronation Cup hardly saw Cracksman at his best and a combination of the firm ground alongside the colt’s interest in the fillies ahead of Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes meant the 2-5 favourite had to settle for second place behind Poet’s Word in that race.

With the horse’s preferred easy ground hard to find during the summer the Qipco-sponsored Champion Stakes was Cracksman’s first start for four months but the long wait was worth it for owner Anthony Oppenheimer and Gosden, a result not unexpected by the latter, who said: “ We’ve freshened him up, come here and he’s back to his best. He’d been showing me at home he was ready to do that. He did today what I thought he would do.”

A new career at stud now beckons for Cracksman, although the destination remains unclear, of which his owner explained after watching the colt’s swan song, saying: “ I’ve never known anything quite like it. We knew he was a good horse but it has been very frustrating having to wait so many months. I don’t know where he goes to stud as we had to see how he did today. We’ll start negotiating with somebody.”