Cracksman a doubt for Dante after heavy rain at York

John Gosden scores with Shutter Speed but may pull favourite from Thursday feature

The rain did not stop from the first race to the last here on Wednesday and though Shutter Speed, the odds-on favourite, managed to cope with the softening ground in the Musidora Stakes, her trainer, John Gosden, may walk the course on Thursday morning before he decides whether Cracksman, the third-favourite for the Derby, will take his chance in the Dante Stakes, the feature event of York’s May meeting.

If Cracksman does not go to post for the Dante, the last recognised Derby trial will lose its favourite, and a potential favourite for the Classic itself. It will also leave Gosden with the problem of how to apply the finishing touches to a colt with only two runs behind him before the Investec Derby, a fortnight on Saturday.

Cracksman, a son of Frankel, runs in the colours of Anthony Oppenheimer, whose Golden Horn had also had two starts before he completed the Dante?Derby double in 2015. He does at least have some experience of Epsom, having scraped home by a short head from Permian - another declared runner for the Dante - in the track’s 10-furlong Classic Trial in April, and he could get a second chance to gallop around Tattenham Corner at the Breakfast With The Stars event next Tuesday.

That possibility could increase Gosden’s reluctance to risk a hard race on testing ground only 16 days before the Derby itself. The going here was officially good-to-soft and good in places overnight but had changed to soft by the time of the first race, and the rain was forecast to continue for several hours after the last.


“The Dante is closer to the Derby than usual due to a late Easter,” Gosden said. “There are only 16 days between the Derby and Dante and no one is going to have an easy race in the Dante.

“He’s in great form. Since he ran at Epsom, he knows what he’s doing, he’s highly professional after that one race. I’m thrilled with the horse. I’m staying nearby and I could nip in early on and have a look, and see what the lie of the land is.”

Gosden’s filly Shutter Speed did not enjoy the ground here on Wednesday but still proved much too good for four opponents in the Group3 Musidora Stakes, a race that the trainer has now won six times in all.

Shutter Speed will not follow the traditional path of Musidora winners and run in the Oaks at Epsom, however, as this race confirmed Gosden’s strong suspicion that she will be best at up to a mile-and-a-half.

“She hated it, it’s too soft and she wasn’t happy at all,” Gosden said, “but she’s got the class to win anyhow. She’ll go to the [10-FURLONG]Prix de Diane [FRENCH OAKS]in over a month’s time so we’ve got time to get over the race, she’s a mile-and-a-quarter filly and this just stretched her stamina today.”

Shutter Speed is quoted as the 6-4 favourite (from 3-1) for the Prix de Diane by Paddy Power, while her stable companion Enable, who

took the Cheshire Oaks last week, is now the 5-1 second-favourite for the Oaks behind Rhododendron, the 1,000 Guineas winner, at 9-4.

William Haggas said that he has “got to try and make [TASLEET]a Group1 winner” after the four-year-old finished two-and-a-half lengths clear of his field in the Group2 Duke Of York Stakes, his first start at six furlongs for almost two years.

“He had a really bad injury [LAST SEASON]to a hind ankle which took a hell of a long time to clear up,” Haggas said. “He ran over seven furlongs on his comeback in the spring but I always fancied coming back to six furlongs and the next step is about another a month away [WHEN]he will run in the [GROUP 1]Diamond Jubilee [at Royal Ascot].”

Nick Rust, the chief executive of the British Horsesracing Authority, said on Wednesday that a newly published report on gender diversity in racing was a “stark reminder that there is much more that British racing needs to do to ensure that people receive the necessary encouragement, support and opportunities regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability or social background.”

The report, which was commissioned by the organisation Women In Racing, found that while “progress is being made at all levels with horseracing”, identified issues for women in the sport included lack of carer development opportunities, including for female jockeys, and a lack of representation at senior and board level in racing organisations. About 12 per cent of licensed jockeys are female, but just 6% of rides are taken by women jockeys and just 1 per cent of the rides in top-level events.

“Today, we’re restating our commitment to improve diversity in our sport,” Rust said. “As the survey report highlights, to be successful, this requires a cross-industry effort, so we will now consult with racecourses and horsemen on additional actions we need to take, including the recommendations contained in this report.

“I’d like to thank Women in Racing and the many partners who made this research, possible, including the Racing Foundation for funding the study on behalf of our sport and for helping us keep diversity firmly on racing’s agenda.”