Cracksman to bypass Dubai in favour of French return next month
John Gosden has decided against taking the wraps off his star colt Cracksman in the Group 1 Sheema Classic in Dubai in a fortnight's time and is planning to run the Frankel colt in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Longchamp next month.
In January, the Newmarket trainer had mooted the idea of starting the four-year-old off over 1m4f at Meydan, a $6 million contest he has won twice previously, most recently with Jack Hobbs a year ago.
Although plans have since changed, Cracksman has enjoyed a trouble-free winter since his breathtaking success in the Group 1 Qipco Champions Stakes at Ascot last October where he easily defeated the useful Poet's Word by seven lengths.
Prior to that, Cracksman had put up a similarly performance in the Group 2 Prix Niel at Chantilly.
Anthony Oppenheimer's colt, who had been 5-2 favourite with William Hill for the Sheema Classic, worked on the Al Bahathri Polytrack in Newmarket on Friday and is now expected to reappear in the Ganay on April 29.
Gosden said: "Dubai is not now happening for Cracksman but he seems fresh and well in himself and the plan would be to take him to the Ganay which returns to Longchamp this year. Other races he'll be entered in are the Group 1 Tattersalls Cup at the Curragh and the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom in June."
As well as Cracksman, Gosden is in the enviable position of also having the remarkable Enable, who has had a nice break since crowning her three-year-old career with an impressive success in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Gosden added: "Enable is fine despite all the cold weather and is cantering away nicely but there's no decision on when she will appear just yet."
With Cracksman absent from Dubai, Frankie Dettori has been snapped up to partner Poet's Word for Sir Michael Stoute in the Sheema Classic for which he is as short as 7-2 with Power.
Other British runners invited for the race include Desert Encounter who impressed in a gallop before racing at Chelmsford on Thursday and is a 16-1 chance with Power.
Sean Levey rode David Simcock's improver in a ten-furlong exercise and is expected to keep the ride at Meydan. Simcock said: "Desert Encounter is a high-class horse and was third in the Eclipse last year. It looks a tough race but he could pick up the pieces at the end as he usually does."
Although he may not be sending one son of Frankel to the UAE, Gosden plans to send another as the four-year-old Monarchs Glen has been invited for the Group 1 Dubai Turf. Khalid Abdulla's gelding signed off 2017 on a high when landing the Group 3 Darley Club Stakes at Newmarket in October and is a 12-1 chance with Paddy Power to land the $5 million contest.
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