THE John Gosden-trained Cracksman, the top European horse of last season, won Friday’s £420,000 Investec Coronation Cup, but only just.
The 2-7 favourite faced just five opponents in the Group 1 contest on the opening day of the Investec Derby Festival but looked in serious trouble in the closing stages of the contest as eventual second Salouen (33/1), under Silvestre De Souza, bravely attempted to hold off last year’s Investec Derby third.
As the Sylvester Kirk-trained leader tired in the final furlong Frankie Dettori got the hot favourite to pull out all the stops to cross the line with just a head to spare.
Winning trainer John Gosden was a relieved man after the win, admitting he knew early on the race wasn’t going to plan for his star:
“I could see from a long way out that Frankie’s elbows were just moving a little and, coming down Tattenham Corner, he wasn’t comfortable.
“He doesn’t like racing down a hill, he found it awkward, and it wasn’t until he went uphill that he was happy and he accelerated.
“He wasn’t comfortable at any stage, until the last 50 yards.
“It’s hard to pick up on this ground when you give one that much of a lead and, as Frankie says, he’s not in love with the track and he was better where he met the (rising) ground.
“It wasn’t ideal, but he showed his class to get there in the end – it was an awful lot of ground to make up.