Cracksman could have up to 12 rivals in G1 Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs

Europe's top-rated horse Cracksman headlines 13 acceptors for the G1 Investec Coronation Cup (3.10pm) at Epsom Downs on Friday, June 1, Investec Ladies' Day, following the latest scratchings' deadline, details of which are released on Wednesday.

One of the highlights of the first day of the Investec Derby Festival, the Investec Coronation Cup is run over the same mile and a half course and distance as the two famous Classics, the G1 Investec Derby and the G1 Investec Oaks, with this year's renewal worth a record £420,000 (up £20,000 on 2017).

Cracksman, a brilliant winner of the G1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot in October, made an exciting start to his four-year-old campaign at Longchamp, France, on April 29, when he gained an easy victory in the extended 10-furlong G1 Prix Ganay.

The Frankel colt, owned and bred by Anthony Oppenheimer, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, is going to make a third appearance at Epsom Downs, having won the Investec Derby Trial and finished a close third in the Investec Derby in April and June respectively last year.

He is the 8/13 favourite for the 2018 Investec Coronation Cup with Unibet, the official betting partner of the Investec Derby Festival.

Godolphin's Hawkbill (Charlie Appleby, 8/1), third in last year's Investec Coronation Cup, has also returned in 2018 in good style, with two victories at Meydan, UAE, in March headed by a three-length win over Poet's Word (Sir Michael Stoute, 9/1) in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic on March 31.

Andre Fabre boasts an enviable record in the Investec Coronation Cup, with six successes, and the legendary Chantilly handler has left in the 2017 G1 Prix Ganay victor, Godolphin's Cloth Of Stars (10/1), alongside G1 Prix du Jockey Club second Waldgeist (14/1).

Further international representation is set to be provided by Windstoss (Markus Klug, 33/1) who is aiming to become the second German-trained winner of the Investec Coronation Cup following Boreal, successful in 2002.

The four-year-old colt emulated his sire, the 2006 Investec Coronation Cup winner Shirocco, when taking the 12-furlong G1 Deutsches Derby at Hamburg in July and stormed to a four-length success over the same distance in the G1 Preis Von Europa at Cologne in September.

Windstoss came home third, beaten a length in total, on his seasonal return in the G2 Gerling-Preis, run over the same course and distance as the Preis Von Europa, on May 6.

Klug, who is based at the historic Gestut Rottgen near Cologne, revealed: "The plan is for Windstoss to run at Epsom Downs in the Investec Coronation Cup.

"He was third on his first start of the year, but was carrying a penalty for his G1 wins and wasn't 100 per cent fit for his seasonal return. He has come out of that race well and has improved for the run.

"I have never been to Epsom Downs, but it looks a nice track on the TV! They go uphill and downhill - there are no similar courses in Germany - but Windstoss is a good-moving colt and his sire won around the course.

"Windstoss won the German Derby and the Preis Von Europa last season, but I am sure that he will be a better four-year-old.

"He has won on good ground and in soft conditions, so the ground should not be too important for him, apart from if it is very quick.

"We know that the Investec Coronation Cup will be a very difficult race, but I think that we will give it a go."

Ireland's champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien has won the Investec Coronation Cup a record eight times and the master of Ballydoyle has four contenders going forward headed by Idaho (13/2) and Cliffs of Moher (13/2), both by Galileo, who have each been placed in the Investec Derby.

Five-year-old Idaho, a comfortable winner of the extended 13-furlong G3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester on May 10, finished third to Harzand in the 2016 Investec Derby and came home sixth behind his full-brother and now-retired stable companion Highland Reel in last season's Investec Coronation Cup.

Cliffs Of Moher finished a neck in front of Cracksman when runner-up to 2017 Investec Derby winner and stable companion Wings Of Eagles and the four-year-old colt gained a smooth victory on his latest appearance in the G2 Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas on May 7.

O'Brien commented earlier this week: "I would imagine one of Cliffs Of Moher or Idaho would run in the Investec Coronation Cup.

"Idaho won well at Chester. The plan was to run at Chester in the Ormonde and then head to Epsom - that still is the plan. 
"After Chester, Ryan (Moore) said he could be a horse who would stay further. Seamie (Heffernan), when he rode him in the St Leger, said he was going very easy, so it seems to make sense that he wants further.

"Cliffs Of Moher could go for the Tattersalls Gold Cup or the Investec Coronation Cup. His best run was in the Investec Derby and we were very happy with him the last day.

"He is a good, strong traveller, but, speaking to Ryan, he said to not rule out the Coronation Cup. We have to decide that as well, so it will be interesting."

O'Brien has also left in dual G1-winning filly Hydrangea (20/1) who is set to line up in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, Ireland, on May 27, and Mooresbridge Stakes third Yucatan (33/1).

Recent Ascot Listed winner Barsanti (Roger Varian, 40/1), 2014 Investec Derby fifth Red Galileo (Saeed bin Suroor, 100/1) and G1 runner-up Salouen (Sylvester Kirk, 100/1) complete the acceptors.

The Investec Coronation Cup is part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The other feature on Investec Ladies' Day, Friday, June 1, at Epsom Downs is the premier fillies' Classic, the G1 Investec Oaks (4.30pm), which is worth at least £500,000.

There are 39 horses going forward for the £100,000 Investec Corporate Banking 'Dash' Handicap (3.45pm), run over the world's fastest five furlongs at Epsom Downs on Investec Derby Day, Saturday, June 2, including Caspian Prince (Michael Appleby), who is seeking a remarkable fourth victory.

The maximum number of runners allowed is 20 for the race staged before the Investec Derby (4.30pm), the greatest Flat race in the world and Britain's richest race with prize money of at least £1.5 million.

The Investec Coronation Cup
Group 1, £420,000 total prize fund. 1m 4f, Epsom Downs, Friday, June 1. 

Horse Age Owner Trainer
BARSANTI (IRE) 6 Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum Roger Varian
CLIFFS OF MOHER (IRE) 4 Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
CLOTH OF STARS (IRE) 5 Godolphin SNC Andre Fabre FR
CRACKSMAN 4 Anthony Oppenheimer John Gosden
HAWKBILL (USA) 5 Godolphin Charlie Appleby
HYDRANGEA (IRE) 4 Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor Aidan O'Brien IRE
IDAHO (IRE) 5 Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier Aidan O'Brien IRE
POET'S WORD (IRE) 5 Saeed Suhail Sir Michael Stoute
RED GALILEO 7 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
SALOUEN (IRE) 4 H Balasuriya Sylvester Kirk
WALDGEIST 4 Gestut Ammerland/Newsells Park Andre Fabre FR
WINDSTOSS (GER) 4 Gestut Rottgen Markus Klug GER
YUCATAN (IRE) 4 Flaxman Stables/Sue Magnier/Tabor/Smith Aidan O'Brien IRE
13 entries remain following May 15 scratchings' deadline
4 Irish-trained 
2 French-trained 
1 German-trained