Royal Ascot: Cracksman "not the same animal" says Frankie Dettori

By Johnny Ward
Wed 20 Jun 2018

Watch a full replay of how Poet's Word beat a laboured Cracksman's in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

By Johnny Ward

Cracksman had no answer to Poet's Word in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

The 2-5 favourite slumped to his first defeat of the season under Frankie Dettori as Sir Michael Stoute's Poet's Word breezed to victory in the meeting's most lucrative race to give the Newmarket trainer a record-breaking 76th victory at the meeting.

Cracksman, who had been 8-13 overnight, was labouring some way out as Dettori vainly pursued a 60th Royal Ascot winner on the Coronation Cup victor.

Poet's Word - Royal Ascot 2018 - Cracksman - Focusonracing Poet's Word pulls clear of Cracksman - the pair eight lengths clear (Focusonracing)

Though he briefly took it up under pressure, the James Doyle-ridden winner (11-2) came from behind and readily moved past a couple of furlong from the finish.

Cracksman, perhaps feeling the ground a bit on the hard side, was game but the five-year-old dug deep to repel the one-paced market leader by two and a quarter lengths.

"It's not the same animal as he was in the spring. He was very lethargic," Dettori said of Cracksman. "He was never travelling at any stage. I gave him every chance.

"Usually the turbo kicks in turning for home but he was very one-paced today. I had a good spot but that's not the Cracksman we know."

Trainer John Gosden added: "To my mind he is just playing around a little bit. At no stage was he travelling or carrying Frankie. We will get him home and we might look into it for the King George.

"The he ability is there but I don't think he was maybe being generous today. We will see in any way but you did notice a long way out that Frankie had to nudge a long way out.

"It was not dissimilar to Epsom. At no stage was he travelling. He is a clever horse. The ability is there but the winner was always going to win. I don't feel he was helping the jockey at any stage.

"I think his mind might have been more on the fillies walking back to the stables from the last race. He is becoming lazy about it all. We will probably have to sharpen him up for the King George."

Stoute, who was eclipsing the mark set by the late Sir Henry Cecil, said: “It’s a relief because we were stuck on it (75 winners) last year. It (Royal Ascot) is special to every trainer.

“We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of nice horses over the years. Maybe Cracksman isn’t at his best now, but we beat the others comprehensively. He’s a very consistent, brave horse.”

Cracksman remains favourite for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at Ascot next month at 7-2, although Sir Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean, who is a short-priced favourite for Saturday's Hardiwcke Stakes, can also be backed at the same price. Poet's Word is 6-1.

Enable, Cracksman's sidelined stable companion, has reclaimed her position at the head of the market for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at 11-2, with Cracksman as big as 7-1. Masar, the Derby winner, is 12-1, while Poet's Word is the same price.

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