Anthony Oppenheimer relishing Cracksman return in Great Voltigeur at York

Tue 22 Aug 2017

Cracksman's owner Anthony Oppenheimer has reiterated it is "all about next year" for the Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes favourite.

Not even entered in the St Leger, the John Gosden-trained colt finished a close third in the Derby at Epsom and second in the Irish equivalent.

Gosden has repeatedly said the son of Frankel will not be seen at his best until he fills his substantial frame and whether he even runs again this season is still up for debate.

Oppenheimer said: "He's had a good rest and has been going very well at home. The ground is reasonable so all looks good.

"It really is all about next year with him, though, that is what the jockeys who ride him are telling us.

"Pat Smullen got off him after the Irish Derby and said if we looked after him for the rest of this year he'd be some prospect next season, so that is what we are doing.

"We'll see how he gets on here but he's not in the St Leger, anyway. What we're hoping is that next season he'll be in races like the King George and maybe at this meeting over 10 furlongs (Juddmonte International).

"He's a very short price and when there are all those Coolmore horses you never know how the race will be run but he's very well.

"He just needs to fill out, and when he does you'll see the real Cracksman.

"But having had a break since the Irish Derby, he may well have done that already, we don't know."

Gosden and Oppenheimer could be forgiven for approaching the meeting with some trepidation after what happened to Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International two years ago, when he was floored by 50-1 shot Arabian Queen.

"It was a disaster," reflected Oppenheimer.

"We ran the pacemaker (Dick Doughtywylie) and the pacemaker gave him a small bump.

"He galloped with Golden Horn every day so when Golden Horn saw him go past all he wanted to do was do what he did every morning and follow him.

"It took Frankie Dettori a long time to get him to settle and he just didn't have his usual kick."

Second favourite for the Voltigeur is Sir Michael Stoute's lightly-raced Mirage Dancer.

Another colt by Frankel, he was beaten just over a length by Benbatl in the Hampton Court Stakes and looks sure to be suited by a step up in trip - but he is another not in the St Leger.

Stoute said: "We're just leaving nice gaps between his races. He is progressive. We like the horse and he keeps improving. This would be as far as he would ever want to go."

Aidan O'Brien still runs three, despite the late defection of Irish Derby winner Capri. He will be represented by Venice Beach, Spanish Steps and Douglas Macarthur.

O'Brien said: "Both Venice Beach and Spanish Steps went to Paris (Grand Prix de Paris).

"Venice Beach ran a great race. Spanish Steps was a little bit green, a little bit babyish but came forward great from it and won very nicely at Leopardstown, beating Johannes Vermeer.

"Venice Beach has been in good form since France and we think - and hope - the track will suit him well."He is in good order as well. We think he is a horse who will progress through the whole year and look forward to him next year.

"We're looking forward to seeing Douglas Macarthur run. We think he gets a mile and a half well - and might even get further.

"But he is in very good form and we're very happy with him. He had a break after his last run and is just ready to start back again."

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