Cracksman ‘bouncing’ with conditions right for Champion Stakes repeat

Cracksman and Frankie Dettori won the Champion Stakes in brilliant fashion last year

Robert Havlin believes it will take a good horse to stop Cracksman from registering back-to-back victories in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

With conditions almost certain to be in favour of the John Gosden-trained Frankel colt, the 44-year-old Scot is optimistic Cracksman can become the first horse since Twice Over in 2009 and 2010 to win the Group One prize in consecutive seasons

The Anthony Oppenheimer-owned four-year-old has missed engagements in both the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Juddmonte International on account of quick ground, and has not run since finishing second to Poet’s Word in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Cracksman was a spectacular winner of the Champion Stakes last year
Cracksman was a spectacular winner of the Champion Stakes last year (Julian Herbert/PA)

Havlin – a key cog behind the scenes at the Gosden yard, as well as playing his part on the racetrack – said: “He loves it round there and it looks like he is going to get his soft ground on Saturday.

“I rode him this morning and he is bouncing. He worked well on Saturday and hopefully everything should be in his favour.

“He was the highest-rated horse in Europe after his win in it last year and if he brings his A-game he will be pretty difficult to beat.

“It’s going to be a strong race, but we’ve been waiting for this sort of ground. We’ve freshened him up, so he goes there a fresh horse and we are expecting a big run.

“As it is his last race, it would be nice for him to go out on a high.”