Aidan O'Brien shuffles pack of seven for Arc as Cracksman ruled out

Sun 24 Sep 2017

By Racinguk.com staff

Cracksman will not run in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly next weekend, owner Anthony Oppenheimer revealed on Sunday.

Connections have repeatedly insisted that a return to France for Europe's premier middle-distance prize was unlikely and with the race now just a week away, he has been confirmed a non-runner.

Oppenheimer said: "I think it had a lot to do with Chantilly itself. A lot depends on the size of the field. If it was at Longchamp, where the track is wider and the bends are not as tight, it may have been an easier decision."

The John Gosden-trained son of Frankel dominated his rivals in last month's Great Voltigeur at York and was just as impressive in the Prix Niel over the Arc course and distance a fortnight ago.

Cracksman still has the option of running again as a three-year-old in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 21, but is far from certain to line up.

Oppenheimer said: "The horse is well, which is the main thing.

"He is in the Champion Stakes, which personally I would say is equally unlikely as the Arc, but that is still four weeks away.

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"I haven't been down to Newmarket for a little while, but if the horse was bouncing out of his skin and let us say the ground came up heavy to soft and it blunted the speed of some of those mile-and-a-quarter horses, there could be some merit in it.

"He is a fresh horse, but I would say the Champion Stakes is a backstop as we've always said we wanted to run him as a four-year-old and we want him to be fresh for that."

Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien has a team of seven to chose from for next Sunday's big race.

While opposition to Enable appears thin on the ground, O'Brien seems intent on giving himself the strongest possibility of following up last year's success with Found.

Among his classy septet are last year's second and third Highland Reel and Order Of St George, as well as multiple Group One scorer Winter, who has yet to run over a mile and a half, and Irish Derby and St Leger hero Capri.

"We are going to leave seven in the Arc," said O'Brien. "Order Of St George, Idaho, Highland Reel, Capri, Winter, Seventh Heaven and Cliffs Of Moher.

"That's what we are going to leave in and we will decide after that."

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