Cracksman set for Arc trial
John Gosden will allow Cracksman to take his chance in this weekend's Qatar Prix Niel on Arc Trials Day, having travelled to Paris to inspect the ground.
The Clarehaven handler made the trip to Chantilly to inspect the ground, being keen not to allow last month's impressive winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York to run on ground softer than ideal.
The ground was officially good to soft on Thursday and could continue to dry, although the forecast is for showers from Friday evening into Saturday morning. Gosden was however content with the surface he found.
"I went over to Paris [on Wednesday] to check the ground myself and they've done well with the surface during a difficult time," said Gosden.
"I'd say the ground will be good after a drying day and we're happy for Cracksman to take his chance in the Niel. I wanted to take a look myself rather than someone else having to make a call at the weekend when I'll be at the Keeneland sales."
Cracksman, narrowly denied in both the English and Irish Derby's this summer, delivered a hugely impressive performance to win the Voltigeur at York by six lengths from Venice Beach on just his fifth career start.
He is rated an 7/1 chance to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on 1st October. Owner Anthony Oppenheimer has previously expressed the opinion that his charge won't run against the Gosden-trained filly Enable, currently 4/5 to land the Arc, but both he and the trainer are determined to keep their options wide open with a trial run in Paris on Sunday.
"Cracksman worked nicely yesterday and the plan is to run in the Niel," said Gosden. "We're taking it one race at a time with him and not ruling anything in or out until we see what happens on Sunday, and how he is after it."
Eclipse and Juddmonte International winner Ulysses meanwhile is 7/1 to hand Sir Michael Stoute victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The four-year-old was no match for Enable in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July.
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