Tuesday 16 October 2018

Dettori 'excited' about Cracksman bid

Dettori expects the son of Frankel to put his best foot forward as he bids for his sixth straight victory. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Dettori expects the son of Frankel to put his best foot forward as he bids for his sixth straight victory. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Michael Verney

Franke Dettori has full confidence that Cracksman will leave his sub-par Epsom display behind him when he tackles next Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes as one of the warmest favourites at the star-studded five-day Royal Ascot meeting.

John Gosden's brilliant four-year-old scraped home by a head in the Coronation Cup earlier this month but a more polished display is expected by the three-time Group One winner.

Heading the nine declarations at the six-day stage - Aidan O'Brien's Cliffs Of Moher and Hydrangea are the only Irish representatives - Dettori expects the son of Frankel to put his best foot forward as he bids for his sixth straight victory.

"I'm getting sick and tired of answering the same questions on Cracksman - he's fine! I rode him yesterday and he just doesn't like Epsom, he really struggles to run downhill," the flamboyant Italian jockey told the Racing Post.

"He loves Ascot and if the beast who won the Champion Stakes turns up then we're going to have lots of fun. His CV is tremendous, you don't get a rating of 130 if you don't prove it. I'm as excited as anyone about Wednesday."

Having missed Ascot last season with an arm injury, Dettori admits he's "keeping himself in bubble wrap" over the weekend before the "Olympics" of Flat racing commences on Tuesday.

Dettori is clear second favourite (7/2) behind O'Brien's No 1 pilot Ryan Moore (8/11) to be crowned leading jockey for the week with a nice string of rides, including a handful for American trainer Wesley Ward, who keeps his riding instructions very simple.

"I'm going to ride one for him in the Queen Mary and hopefully I can find another Lady Aurelia. All Wesley says to me when I ride one of his two-year-olds is, 'Just hold on'. They're so quick from the gates and his record is fantastic."

Elsewhere, Johnny Murtagh completed an 18/1 Leopardstown double last night spearheaded by True Valour's victory in the Group Three Ballycorus Stakes in first-time cheekpieces.

Murtagh's earlier maiden winner, Parkers Hill (6/1), got home by just a neck, but the Qatar Racing Limited-owned True Valour (7/4 favourite) was a cosy two-and-a-quarter-length victor in the hands of Chris Hayes.

Unfortunately, O'Brien's St Patrick's Day - brother to 2015 US Triple Crown winner American Pharoah - reared in the stalls and was withdrawn but Murtagh's charge took full advantage.

"We've always thought he was a Group horse and he thrived over the winter," Murtagh said. "The big day is back here on Champions Weekend. Sheikh Fahad is a big supporter of the day so he'll come back here for the Boomerang in the long-term."

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