The bookmakers had the Coronation Cup at Epsom as a one horse race but no one had told Silvestre De Souza and he almost created a mighty upset on board the outsider Salouen, only yielding late on to the Frankie Dettori ridden hot favourite Cracksman.
Dettori never looked particularly happy through the race and as Salouen and Sheema Classic winner Hawkbill set sail for home as they entered the home straight Cracksman appeared to have plemty or work to do. But work he did and with a furlong to go he’d passed Hawkbill but with Salouen and De Souza showing no signs of stopping Dettori decided to switch his horse to the stands rail, a move that had proven advantageous to jockeys in the preceding race and a move that would be mirrored later in the afternoon in the Oaks.
Once Cracksman got onto that golden highway on the rail and met the rising ground in that final half furlong he started to really pick up and got there just in time to deny trainer Sylvester Kirk a famous upset.
Trainer John Gosden was relieved after the race. “I’m pleased he showed a lot of courage to get the job done, as that’s always the test of a good horse. I was looking forward to the last 50 yards as I knew he’d put a kick in,” said Gosden.
Asked whether the switch to the rail had been a decisive, race-winning move Dettori simply said “yep”. He then added that his horse “hates running downhill and when he had to pick up the bridle and bridge the gap he couldn’t…..It was only on the flattest part of the track that his class pulled him through.”
The probable next target for Cracksman, who has all the season’s major middle distance races in his sights, is the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. After that he is likely to be back at Ascot for the King George with an end of season finale in the Arc De Triomphe at Longchamp firmly on the cards.
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