Champions Day: Cracksman to wear blinkers in QIPCO Champion Stakes

Fri 19 Oct 2018

Cracksman will wear blinkers on his final racecourse outing in Saturday’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

The John Gosden-trained colt is trying to win the race for a second successive year after he demolished a good field last season.

However, despite winning two Group Ones this term, the Prix Ganay and the Coronation Cup, he has failed to hit last year’s heights, scrambling home at Epsom and being beaten in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Watch how Cracksman thrashed his rivals 12 months ago

Gosden put that performance down to the quick ground, meaning he has not run since because of the heatwave this summer, and also not having his mind fully on the job – hence the application of headgear.

“I’m considering all options," Gosden said on the gallops at Newmarket last Friday as the Frankel colt breezed past him. "There has always been a prejudice in this country against blinkers and anything of that nature. In America in a 12-horse field, usually eight of them have blinkers.

"The great horses like Northern Dancer and Secretariat consistently ran in blinkers and we thought nothing of it in America.

“Plenty of horses, like us, need to stay focused on what they are doing and it’s a very useful aid. They are another tool in the box.”

Stablemates Monarchs Glen and Maverick Wave will join him in the eight-runner field.

Aidan O’Brien runs last year’s St Leger winner Capri and the Lockinge victor Rhododendron, who has been very disappointing since Newbury in May.

Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean looks the main threat to Cracksman having pushed Poet’s Word all the way in the King George in August. He was, however, no match for Enable at Kempton when trying to concede weight last time out.

Jim Bolger’s Verbal Dexterity, a Group One winner at two, and Subway Dancer from the Czech Republic complete the field.

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