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Oppenheimer lukewarm about Cracksman Arc tilt following trial cruise
11 Sep 2017 | 

Owner Anthony Oppenheimer suggested Cracksman may yet sidestep next month's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe despite looking every inch a leading contender with a straightforward victory in the Group 2 Prix Niel (2400m) at Chantilly on Sunday.

Cracksman likely to take a break, photo Liesl King

After bolting up in the Great Voltigeur at York last time, Cracksman was sent off the 2-7 favourite and never looked like disappointing his supporters as he saw off his four rivals with ease.

Fellow Frankel colt Finche made the running but Cracksman picked him up with ease in the straight and only needed to be pushed out by Frankie Dettori as he extended away from the Andre Fabre-trained Avilius.

Despite the win, Oppenheimer remains of the opinion that the Arc may come too soon in his horse's physical development, with plans already being made for his four-year-old campaign.

"We didn't want a hard race for him because we want him to race as a four-year-old, so we're very pleased," said Oppenheimer, who also stated his desire to see only Frankie Dettori ride the horse.

"He was a bit above himself after York, so we thought he needed another race anyway.

"Whether we run him in the Arc or British Champion Stakes this year... we'd prefer to put him away this year without a hard race. We think that might just take the sting off him next year.

"It's the gamble you have to take. Do you keep this horse as a four-year-old, knowing all the jockeys have said he'll be much better or do you take a run in the Arc, get second or third and give him a hard race without his jockey? That's the problem Mr Gosden will be facing."

On comparisons with his 2015 Arc hero Golden Horn, Oppenheimer added: "He's not quite reaching Golden Horn yet but he's not far off and he's getting stronger.  

"In the Derby at Epsom, he was quite weak and after the Irish Derby Smullen said he needed to strengthen up, so we gave him a couple of months and you can see now he's becoming a horse."

Dettori was also in no mood to talk up a shot at the Arc and said: "It wasn't a particularly strong race but it went the way I expected, even though the ground is a bit too soft for him.

"I don't know if he will run in the Arc but I expect to be on Enable. At this stage she is stronger and more streetwise than him."

Betfair initially responded by trimming Cracksman from 8-1 to 7-1 for the Arc but pushed him back out to 10-1 in light of Oppenheimer's comments.

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