Gosden happy with Cracksman after Epsom spin

Cracksman and Frankie Dettori at Epsom

John Gosden was satisfied with Cracksman as he put the finishing touches to his Investec Derby preparation with a spin around Epsom this morning.

Joint-favourite with Cliffs Of Moher for the blue riband Classic, he was one of a handful of horses to work on the track at the annual Breakfast With The Stars event.

Gosden followed the same plan with 2015 Derby hero Golden Horn, who was also owned by Anthony Oppenheimer, in enjoying a sighter of the Downs track with just over a week to go until the main event.

Cracksman, who won the Derby Trial at Epsom in April from Permian, was partnered by big-race jockey Frankie Dettori as the pair worked over a mile in company with the Rab Havlin-ridden Pealer.

Gosden only decided to come to the Epsom event after abandoning plans to run Cracksman in last week's Dante at York, subsequently won by Permian, and he felt it was the right call not to run on soft ground on the Knavesmire.

He said: "He ran round here (in April) and he ran well. He got pocketed in and he picked up nicely against a horse that was fit and streetwise and he's come on a lot for it.

"I didn't fancy running him 16 days out in the Dante in testing conditions. The result was positive from our point of view, though I was happy with how this morning went and he's full of himself down at the stables.

"I think the mile and half will be right up his alley and we didn't supplement him for fun in April."

Dettori was also pleased with Cracksman's gallop, emphasising that he had been far from hard on the Frankel colt.

He added: "He was good, he did a bit of routine stuff, just like we did with Golden Horn, he just started at the mile and we just went round Tattenham Corner and then pulled up at the furlong marker.

"If I passed the winning post at snail's pace, it was because I was already pulling up."

Another son of Frankel to strut his stuff at Epsom was Eminent, winner of the Craven Stakes but a slightly disappointing sixth the 2000 Guineas at the start of the month.

He worked in company with Solo Hunter and trainer Martyn Meade is expecting the step up to 12 furlongs to bring out the best in his charge.

He said: "I was absolutely thrilled, he did exactly what we wanted him to do. I didn't want to overdo him today, but for me that was absolutely perfect.

"This (12 furlongs) is what we have been waiting for.

"Winning the Craven Stakes, we thought we'd have a go at the Guineas, although it didn't work out well. I think this is his distance."

Jim Crowley was again aboard Eminent and he felt the colt had handled the Epsom track with aplomb.

He said: "I was really happy with him.

"He went for a mile, he came down the hill well, changed legs nicely and galloped to the line very well."

Hugo Palmer's Best Of Days was the other Derby contender to work at Epsom, with the Godolphin-owned colt having yet to make his official reappearance this term.

Winner of the Royal Lodge on his final start of 2016, Palmer reports the Azamour colt to have recovered from a back problem, although he is not certain to line up in the main event on Saturday week.

Palmer said: "I was very happy with him. It was his second racecourse gallop in the space of a week as he worked at Chelmsford last week.

"He worked with a 70-rated horse on Thursday and 104-rated horse this morning and found it much easier today.

"We had a little bit of a setback with him three months ago, that's why he's not run in a trial. Ideally we wanted to run him in a trial, but he got an injury in his back.

"We were able to keep exercising him, but he went six weeks without having a rider on his back.

"He's in the King Edward VII and Queen's Vase (at Royal Ascot) and we'll put him Irish Derby tomorrow and while the Derby is the Derby, there are a lot of other nice races for him."

Permian was not at Epsom on Tuesday, but Godolphin racing manager John Ferguson was on hand to watch the action on the track.

While the Mark Johnston-trained Permian does not run in the Godolphin blue, he is owned by Sheikh Mohammed's son Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and duly falls under Ferguson's remit.

Permian was beaten just a short head by Cracksman in the Derby Trial at Epsom and has since won a Listed race at Newmarket as well as the York Group Two last Thursday, with connections immediately stating their intention to supplement the horse on Monday at a cost of £85,000.

Ferguson said: "He's improved so much from when he ran here. He improved again when he won the Newmarket Stakes and improved again when he won the Dante.

"I think he's a horse with a really big chance.

"He has a superb pedigree and he's put up a couple of good performances. He's in great nick and he's come out of the race really well."

Aidan O'Brien was also on the phone at Breakfast With The Stars and he confirmed he could be mob-handed on the big day.

While 2000 Guineas hero Churchill has been ruled out, O'Brien still has the first three home in both the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and Chester Vase to choose from, along with Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher.

He said: "I think there's a good chance of having seven runners. The lads (Coolmore) will have to discuss that, but there's a very good chance that could happen.

"We were very happy (with Cliffs Of Moher) at Chester, he went to the line very well.

"I think he's going to improve. He's done a couple of pieces since and we're happy with that."

NAP of the Day

DateTime / CourseSilkSelectionPrice
£10 Win Single Pays £22.50 with Bet365
21 Aug 201716:30 Lingfield
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