John Gosden pair Cracksman and Roaring Lion on course for Champion Stakes at Ascot

Cracksman
Cracksman

John Gosden reports Roaring Lion and Cracksman to be firmly on course for a mouthwatering clash in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Roaring Lion has carried all before him in the second half of the season, completing a hat-trick of Group One wins in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, the Juddmonte International at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

The Qatar Racing-owned three-year-old has the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes as a back-up option on Saturday week, but Gosden confirmed the Champion Stakes as his preferred target.

He said: "Hopefully he is going to the Champion Stakes. He has been a fabulous horse to train and I've never had a horse get bigger and stronger like he has. He has got some constitution, to take the racing and the training.

"We don't want to see much rain. He has won on good to soft, but we don't want to see it go soft to heavy, that's for sure. We will leave him in both races and I think we'll do a bit of pacing around Ascot and walk the track.

"He has always been a fun horse to be around. With some horses it takes a little bit of time to get in the groove. He has had a tough season and has been hard at it since February and come back for more, but he is in a good place mentally and physically."

Stablemate Cracksman was a brilliant winner of last year's Champion Stakes, but will defend his crown with something to prove having been off the track since suffering a shock defeat in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Gosden has considered fitting the four-year-old with headgear on what is set to be his final outing before being retired to stud.

"The old boy is in top order. He runs in the Champion Stakes and I should think that would be his last race," the Clarehaven handler added.

"I'm considering all options. There has always been a prejudice in this country against blinkers and anything of that nature. The great horses like Northern Dancer and Secretariat consistently ran in blinkers and we thought nothing of it in America.

"Plenty of horses, like us, need to stay focused on what they are doing and it's a very useful aid."

Roaring Lion and Cracksman are joint-favourites for the Champion Stakes with Sky Bet - click here for the latest odds on Champions Day.

Asked who he felt would come out on top, the trainer said: "I'm not going to predict who would win, but you would go with the three-year-old (Roaring Lion) at the weights.

"He (Cracksman) hasn't had an ideal year as he hasn't had his ground, whereas Roaring Lion thrives on fast ground."

Roaring Lion and Cracksman will be part of a formidable Gosden army heading to Ascot.

Stradivarius will be considered as the banker of the day by many as he bids to add to his victories in the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Gold Cup and Lonsdale Cup in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Gosden said: "He is in great form and he has benefited from having a little time off. He handles soft ground but he is better on top of the ground. This will be his final run of the year."

Stradivarius wins the Lonsdale Cup
Stradivarius wins the Lonsdale Cup

Without Parole will bid to bounce back to form in the QEII, while St Leger runner-up Lah Ti Dar and the ultra-consistent Coronet are booked for the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Gosden added: "Lah Ti Dar is in super form. I've had a lot run in the St Leger down the years and it is a race that can hit them a bit, but I've been astounded how she took it in her stride and it didn't bother her.

"Coronet has run into Enable, Sea Of Class and Waldgeist, who beat her by a nose. We have got one final plan with her called the Lydia Tesio in Rome, which is a Group One in November.

"If she doesn't win at Ascot then we are planning to go to Rome before she is retired to stud to try and get this Group One. She is the most consistent filly and a real trier."


GET THE FULL PICTURE: Don't miss out on FREE video replays and our fantastic My Stable tracker. Log in now and become a Sporting Life Insider.

Related horse racing links

Most Read Racing

Nap Of The Day1

Daily Nap: Mr Loverman...

Ben Coley heads to Windsor for Monday's nap, with two other selections put forward from the card at Yarmouth.

We preview today's horse racing action2

Monday's racing preview

Nick Robson provides a selection for every race on Monday, with William Haggas fancied to saddle a winner at Kempton.

Action from Chepstow3

Secret's out as Cobden rides treble

Secret Investor looks set for good things this season after he recorded a solid victory in the Fox Family Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow.

Find out what's caught our eye today4

Monday's Talking Points

Ben Coley takes a break from being a slightly out-of-form golf tipster to look at Monday's racing talking points.

Capri (left) wins the Irish Derby5

Capri could drop in distance

Aidan O'Brien is considering dropping Capri down in trip for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Most Read Racing

Nap Of The Day1

Daily Nap: Mr Loverman...

Ben Coley heads to Windsor for Monday's nap, with two other selections put forward from the card at Yarmouth.

We preview today's horse racing action2

Monday's racing preview

Nick Robson provides a selection for every race on Monday, with William Haggas fancied to saddle a winner at Kempton.

Action from Chepstow3

Secret's out as Cobden rides treble

Secret Investor looks set for good things this season after he recorded a solid victory in the Fox Family Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow.

Find out what's caught our eye today4

Monday's Talking Points

Ben Coley takes a break from being a slightly out-of-form golf tipster to look at Monday's racing talking points.

Capri (left) wins the Irish Derby5

Capri could drop in distance

Aidan O'Brien is considering dropping Capri down in trip for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Next Race Off

10:10 Hyderabad
7
(6)
Musashi
J: Akshay Kumar
4
(10)
Once More
J: Nakhat Singh
5
(9)
Darshish
J: A Ashhad Asbar
1
(2)
Wings Of Eagles
J: R Ajay Kumar
2
(11)
Your Grace
J: S S Tanwar
11
(1)
Moka
J: Md Ismail
3
(12)
Limousine
J: Koushik
10
(3)
Hurricane
J: G Naresh
12
(5)
Aarohi
J: Ajit Singh
6
(13)
Bombastic
J: Aneel
9
(4)
Holy Healer
J: Kiran Naidu
8
(7)
Natasha
J: C Umesh
13
(8)
Super Act
J: Harinder Singh

Racing Tips

Nap Of The Day

Daily Nap: Mr Loverman...

Ben Coley heads to Windsor for Monday's nap, with two other selections put forward from the card at Yarmouth.

We preview today's horse racing action

Monday's racing preview

Nick Robson provides a selection for every race on Monday, with William Haggas fancied to saddle a winner at Kempton.

The Breeders' Cup returns to Churchill Downs this year

Antepost Angle: Breeders' Cup

Matt Brocklebank takes an early look at the Breeders' Cup with a handful of recommended bets including West Coast in the Classic.