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Cracksman On Course For Arc After Victory At Longchamp

Last season’s Qipco Champion Stakes winner Cracksman made his seasonal reappearance at Longchamp recently to make a successful start to his campaign in 2018. John Gosden’s runner is expected to return to France in October for his first shot at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe where he is the ante-post favourite for the leading flat race in Europe.

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Cracksman prevailed in four races last season as a three-year-old but it was at the back end of the year where he established himself as one of the highest rated middle-distance horses in the world. Connections took the decision to bypass the Arc at Chantilly and instead run on British Champions Day where he beat a strong field by seven lengths in a dominant display in the Champion Stakes.

The son of Frankel had his first taste of Longchamp in the Group One Prix de l’Inauguration de Paris Longchamp where he chased the leaders in the opening stages before hitting the front and quickening clear inside the final 200 metres. The bookmakers reacted to his victory by slashing his odds into 5/2 for the Arc at the same track later this year.

2000 Guineas Winner Saxon Warrior Likely To Be O’Brien’s Leading Hope This Year

Saxon Warrior has emerged to be one of the latest superstars to come out of the Ballydoyle stable in Ireland after he was successful in the opening British Classic of 2018, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. The three-year-old is now the odds-on favourite at 4/5 in the horse racing betting with William Hill for the Derby. If he prevails at Epsom next month, he is then likely to attempt the Triple Crown in the St Leger at Doncaster where he will be looking to become the first colt since Nijinsky in 1970 to win all three races.

O’Brien had a record-breaking year in 2017 as he won 26 Group One races around the world. He has already started 2018 strongly but one of his biggest targets will be the Arc as he has only been victorious in the contest once in the last ten years. The Irishman will be fully aware that three-year-olds have an excellent record in the prestigious European race so he will be confident that Saxon Warrior can add his name to the history books.

Defending Champion Enable Unlikely To Return Until Autumn

Last year’s Arc winner Enable recently suffered a setback in training, meaning she will not return to the racecourse until Autumn. The four-year-old filly has a knee problem which will rule her out of Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood, two of the big summer flat meetings in the UK.

Chloe Torode via Twitter

Enable had a fantastic year in 2017 as not only was she too quick for her rivals at Chantilly, she also scored in the Oaks, Irish Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks. If Gosden can get her 100% fit again to travel to France in October, she will be attempting to become the first horse since Treve in 2014 to win the Arc in back-to-back years.

This year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe takes place on October 7 and it will be the first time in three years that it will be staged at Longchamp.