Cracksman lacks experience – Gosden

John Gosden admits Cracksman might lack the requisite experience to win the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 3 – but that the colt is far from alone on that score.

With Aidan O’Brien deciding to keep Churchill at home for the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Derby picture remains a little muddy, with the twice-raced Cracksman and Cliffs Of Moher, who has only had three outings, at the head of the betting.

The son of Frankel was one of a handful of horses to work on the track at the annual Breakfast with the Stars event, a route Gosden took with his 2015 Derby winner Golden Horn.

Cracksman, who defeated subsequent Dante scorer Permian in the Derby Trial at Epsom in April, was partnered by big-race jockey Frankie Dettori as the pair worked over a mile in company with the Rab Havlin-ridden Pealer.

Gosden only decided to come to the Epsom event after he abandoned plans to run Cracksman in last week’s Dante because he felt it was the right call not to run on soft ground.

The Clarehaven handler said: “I’ve been lucky enough to come here and do a nice old breeze with him – not fast, flat-out work, more to get him to see the place again, have a day out.

“That makes a very big difference and I am pleased we are able to do that. It is a good opportunity but it is not the same as a race.

“He goes there a fit, happy horse – a touch light on experience, but he is not the only one.

“I didn’t fancy running him 16 days out in the Dante in testing conditions. The result was positive from our point of view (Permian won), though I was happy with how this morning went and he’s full of himself down at the stables.

“I think the mile and half will be right up his alley and we didn’t supplement him for fun in April.”

Permian was not at Epsom on Tuesday, but Godolphin racing manager John Ferguson was on hand to watch the action on the track and they may have five runners.

While the Mark Johnston-trained Permian does not run in the Godolphin blue, he is owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s son and falls under Ferguson’s remit.

Best Of Days, Best Solution, Dubai Thunder and Benbatl are also in the Derby mix.

Permian was beaten just a short head by Cracksman in the Derby Trial and has since won a Listed race at Newmarket, as well as the Dante.

After his York triumph, connections immediately stated their intention to supplement the horse at a cost of £85,000.

Ferguson said: “He’s improved so much from when he ran here. He improved again when he won the Newmarket Stakes and improved again when he won the Dante. I think he’s a horse with a really big chance.

“At this stage we have five names on the team sheet and we have still got 10 days to go and we will see what happens. All five have genuine legitimate chances.”

Aidan O’Brien expects to be mob-handed in the Derby, with Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher leading the way.

The Ballydoyle handler said: “I think there’s a good chance of having seven runners. The lads (Coolmore) will have to discuss that, but there’s a very good chance that could happen.

“The next 10 days will be very interesting. They are all on their own separate programmes.

“There is a programme gone out for each horse, race to race. Some take a lot of work, some take very little work and some take no work.

“They are all on their programmes. We are all very happy with what we see at the moment.”

Twenty-six horses remain in the Derby, but Dante third Crystal Ocean is no longer involved.

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