Cracksman states Classic case at Epsom
Sterner tests await Cracksman but his Classic ambitions moved another step closer after he maintained his unbeaten record in the Investec Derby Trial at Epsom yesterday.
With more than a sprinkling of star quality among his three-year-old fillies, trainer John Gosden now looks to have a top-class colt from the same age group in the son of Frankel.
Forced to make a late switch from behind runners by Frankie Dettori, the 4/6 favourite picked up well to peg back Permian and get up on the line to claim victory by a short head.
Cracksman, who runs in the colours of Anthony Oppenheimer, owner of 2015 Derby winner Golden Horn, is now likely to have one more outing before he returns to Epsom for the Investec Derby on June 3.
Gosden, who was winning the race for a third successive year, said: "They went no pace and he was truly shut in and couldn't get out. I was delighted how he picked up.
"I did say to the owner before this horse is pretty laid-back and very inexperienced on the track.
"I think with more pace he would have won easier. I like the fact he finished strong. The talk about Frankels being over exuberant, this guy is so laid-back.I'm very pleased with him and he will come on a bundle for it.
"We will go for another run. Whether it is Chester or York, we will see how he comes out of the race."
Mark Johnston said of Permian: "It was a bit sad he was pipped on the line but it was a really good run.
"He is more likely an Ascot type and he could be one for something like the King Edward VII."
Group race entries held by the Johnston-trained Galapiat (11/10 favourite) look set to be taken up sooner rather than later following his runaway victory in the Investec Corporate Banking Great Metropolitan Handicap.
The four-year-old, who holds entries in the Jockey Club Stakes and Coronation Cup, galloped on resolutely from the front to take the mile-and-a-half handicap by four and a half lengths.
Johnston said: "When the handicapper put him up 11lb for his win at Leicester I thought that was perfectly fair at the time.
"He has Group race entries but I still thought when you look at the ratings he was 10lb out of that so we thought he can have a stepping stone before he does that.
"Kirsten Rausing (owner) would have jumped up into a Group race but the fact that this was at Epsom and he has got a Group One entry here I managed to persuade her to come here."