Cliffs Of Moher chases home Lancaster Bomber in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.
Cracksman hasn’t been beaten since the Irish Derby last year when Capri denied him at the Curragh. He racked up five wins on the bounce since, the last three at top level. He was imperious in the Champion Stakes here last October winning 7 L from Poet’s Word and on his comeback run in April the Prix Ganay he was professional though not spectacular. The wheels nearly came off in the Coronation Cup when he was just got the job done beating Salouen a head getting up late to snatch victory.
Are there cracks appearing or is that he just hates Epsom and it’s undulations.
His previous visit to the track was for last year’s Derby where he finished third a neck behind Cliffs Of Moher in second and 3/4 L in front of Eminent who finished fourth. Neither if the trio could cope with the fast finishing Wings Of Eagles who nailed them all to win.
Granted he’s a different colt now, stronger, leaner, meaner and streetwise. A man compared to last year’s boy. At the same time connections of the opposition will have been encouraged that Epsom this year leaves a chink in his armour.
Cliffs Of Moher was a bruised animal after Epsom last year and those exertions took their toll over the remainder of the season. He was beaten six times between then and revisiting the winners enclosure when he beat Ken Condon’s Success Days at Naas in the G2 Mooresbridge Stakes at the beginning of May. He since followed up with a nice run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup where he put in a good display running second behind stable companion Lancaster Bomber. Both those runs were over 10f, a trip he’s raced exclusively at since last year’s Derby. His confidence is returning.
Poet’s Word was no match for Cracksman in last year’s Champion Stakes and in the Irish Champion Stakes he finished second to Decorated Knight in front of both Eminent and Cliffs Of Moher. Sir Michael Stoute has also had to rebuild confidence this year and in The Sheema Classic he was held 3 L by Hawkbill though when dropped in class in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes he did get that confidence win.
Charlie Appleby is in flying form this year. Masar and Blue Point have put Godolphin back on the European Group 1 map. Hawkbill has to overcome a poor run when 25 L behind Cracksman in the Coronation though he is a previous Royal Ascot winner when the took the Tercentenary Stakes (formerly The Hampton Court Stakes) in 2016. The French raider Royal Julius needs a considerable step up from an Italian Group 2 win and likewise David Simcock’s Desert Encounter will have to find a new level of form to trouble the judge here.
Cracksman gave his supporters a mighty scare last time out, it could happen again. If it does the only one to have previously beaten him could do it again.
Recommendation: Cliffs of Moher 12/1 ew