FRANKIE Dettori, whose first Group One winner came on Markofdistinction in the 1990 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, took the same race aboard Persuasive at Ascot on Saturday and then added the Qipco Champion Stakes on Cracksman, whose brilliant seven-length success suggested he would have gone very close against Enable, his stable companion, in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
That meeting, hopefully, has merely been postponed until the race returns to Longchamp next October. It will be a huge draw if it happens, as Cracksman is visibly improving by the race and will continue to grow and mature over the winter.
The John Gosden-trained favourite was a superb winner of the feature race on Champions Day. His huge stride overwhelmed his field within half a furlong as Dettori unleashed the favourite at the top of the straight and was able to coast home from the furlong pole. ‘
Even Frankel, Cracksman’s sire and without question the greatest winner of this race, in 2012, had less than two lengths to spare at the post. Cracksman is Frankel’s first Group One winner in Europe and also his first Group One-winning colt.
At some stage next season, Dettori may well have to choose between Enable and Cracksman before a big race and it could be the most difficult choice of his career. Enable took the Arc in much the same, irresistible style as Cracksman did here, surging away from a high-class field with an unanswerable burst of finishing speed.
“It was difficult but I thought Enable was more in the zone, a bit more streetwise than him,” the trainer said of the decision to swerve around the Arc this season.
“He’s improved through the year. He’s like a fighter weighing more now, if he started as a middleweight, he’s now a light-heavyweight.
Dettori, who was winning the Champion Stakes for the first time, was able to check on the big screen that his pursuers were at a safe distance as he cruised towards the finishing line. He completed a 23-1 double as he crossed it, which will have sent many in a 31,000-strong crowd (up from 29,000 last year despite a poor weather forecast) home with a profit on the day.
“The horse I rode today is not the horse I rode at Epsom,” he said. “He’s developed and he’s stronger. I was surprised how well he travelled because he can be a bit laid back, but it was an honest pace and he was able to follow. My ace card was catch-me-if-you-can because I know that he gets [the trip] no problem and it was a storming performance.