Cracksman has had to pull out all the stops to claim a narrow victory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
Trained by John Gosden’, Cracksman was the highest-rated horse in Europe last season following a scintillating display in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.
And having appeared better than ever in his successful reappearance in the Prix Ganay last month, he was the prohibitively priced 2-7 favourite to claim a third Group One success.
Frankie Dettori cut a concerned figure in the saddle from an early stage of the mile-and-a-half (2400m) contest and drew his whip with over two furlongs (400m) still to run, as 33-1 outsider Salouen threatened to cause a major shock.
To his credit Cracksman responded to Dettori’s urgings, clawing back the deficit and getting up in the dying strides to score by a head.
“Cracksman was a bit sleepy today, but he does not enjoy galloping downhill and when I wanted to close the gap, I couldn’t,” Dettori said.
“He felt lethargic, like he did in the Derby last year.
“Silvestre (de Sousa, on Salouen) got five lengths on me and, God, he made it hard work for me, but once we flattened out, the turbo kicked in.
“I didn’t want to win like that, but, a bit like Man United, we find a way to win, and we did.”
Gosden said the soft ground at Epsom was not to Cracksman’s liking.
“”It’s hard to pick up on this ground when you give one that much of a lead and, as Frankie says, he’s not in love with the track and he was better where he met the (rising) ground,” he said.
“Epsom is probably not Cracksman’s favourite track, but he showed a lot of courage and the jockey didn’t panic, which was good.
“We’ll look at Royal Ascot now, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.”
Cracksman was eased to 2-1 from 4-5 by Betfair for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.