Crackerjack King can lead European Million raid

weekend preview

Arlington

Given everything that has happened since – from the Breeders' Cup to Dubai, from Hong Kong to Royal Ascot – it is a significant anniversary not just for a race that dismantled so many frontiers, but for the international sport as a whole. And, if arguably lacking vintage quality, the European raiders convening for the 30th running of the Arlington Million have no precedent when measured by quantity. The further expansion of Chicago's international turf carnival, through the inauguration of an American St Leger, has lured no fewer than 14 horses across, requiring an extra quarantine barn on the back stretch here.

A race on grass over "one mile and 11 sixteenths" palpably plays to European strengths, and has duly prompted Marco Botti, John Gosden and Mikael Magnusson to fly over Jakkalberry, Zuider Zee and Bridge Of Gold respectively. But the three established races, all Grade Ones, must themselves be counted as congenial an "away" fixture as might be devised, over 10 furlongs of a generous turf course.

Top challenger for the Million itself is Crackerjack King, who is Jakkalberry's half-brother and was exported from Italy earlier this summer by his former trainer, Stefano Botti, to join his sibling, Marco, in Newmarket. Crackerjack King had just confirmed his elite calibre on home soil, beating Afsare in a Group One race in Rome in May, but suffered only the second defeat of his life on his British debut in the Eclipse. On the face of it, fifth of nine seemed pretty disappointing, but the going was probably softer than ideal and he did manage some menace during the most demanding passage of the race.

This looks a characteristically astute choice of target, by his new trainer, with the going drying out quickly after a spectacular thunderstorm on Thursday. Though Afsare has dauntlessly followed him over the ocean, Crackerjack King can give Colm O'Donoghue the biggest success of his career outside the service of Ballydoyle.

His usual patrons are represented by Treasure Beach, on whom O'Donoghue won the Secretariat Stakes on this card last year. The colt has since switched to the colours of Jim and Fitri Hay, and will be ridden this time by Jamie Spencer, who won the 2011 Million in their silks, on Cape Blanco. Treasure Beach has lost his form, however, and sadly the same seems true of Wigmore Hall, on whom Hayley Turner will be hoping for better breaks than when a fast-finishing fourth to Cape Blanco last year. Connections of the 2010 winner, Debussy, are likewise back for another crack with Colombian, but he needs a career best. The home defence is led by Boisterous, representing a Hall of Fame trainer in Shug McGaughey III, if not a terribly intimidating standard in indigenous turf form.

The home team does field a prolific turf runner in the Secretariat Stakes, Silver Max having reeled off six wins by an aggregate of 22 lengths since switching surface. But O'Donoghue again has sound prospects, this time for Aidan O'Brien, with Daddy Long Legs. The UAE Derby winner finished tailed off on his last visit to these shores, evidently resenting the dirt in the Kentucky Derby, and was ridden with too much gusto when setting up the Irish 2,000 Guineas for his stablemate, Power. He should be nicely freshened up for this.

O'Brien and O'Donoghue also have each-way prospects in the Beverly D with Up, who ran well at the Breeders' Cup and may appreciate a return to this environment. Joviality also seems to prefer a sound surface, but the value could be Kapitale, a smart German filly who has been laid out for this.

It is an important weekend in Botti's burgeoning career. Tomorrow he fast-tracks Moohaajim, an impressive debut winner at Ascot, to Group One company in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville. Other cross-Channel raiders include Reckless Abandon, who won the Norfolk Stakes for Clive Cox before a successful French reconnaissance in the Prix Robert Papin; and two from Richard Hannon, Sir Prancealot and Alhebayeb. O'Brien meanwhile sends over Parliament Square and George Vancouver.

On the same card, Snow Fairy makes her belated return in the Prix Jean Romanet, having been sidelined with injury since her latest Japanese success last November.

The turf account

Chris McGrath's nap

Maastricht (5.00 Doncaster)

Next best

Rakaan (3.40 Newbury)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests