The final declarations Thursday for the Group 1, $1.7 million Champion Stakes were as notable for who wasn&rsquo;t in the race as who was. Cracksman takes his spot in the Champion starting gate, but his John Gosden&#45;trained stablemate Roaring Lion runs in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, also part of British Champions Day on Saturday at Ascot. The Champion was the first choice for Roaring Lion&rsquo;s connections, but the development wasn&rsquo;t a surprise. Ascot has been wet for a couple weeks, and Gosden fears Roaring Lion won&rsquo;t enjoy going as far as 1 1/4 miles on Ascot&rsquo;s round course, which dries slower than the straight course over which the one&#45;mile QE II is run. In any case, the move only strengthens Gosden&rsquo;s flashy hand in the five Group 1 stakes on the day &ndash; Cracksman will be favored in the Champion, Roaring Lion favored in the QE II, Stradivarius favored in the Long Distance Cup, and Lah Ti Dar favored in the Fillies and Mares. All ship from the Gosden stables in Newmarket to Ascot, where the straight course as of Thursday was rated soft, heavy in places, and the round course heavy, soft in places. First up on the day is the Long Distance Cup, post time 8:25 a.m. Eastern, followed by the Sprint, the Fillies and Mares, the QE II (post time 10:15) and the Champion (post time 10:50). The QE II especially could have significant Breeders&rsquo; Cup implications. Cracksman makes the last start of his career in the Champion, a race he won over soft ground a year ago in an absolute romp, coming home seven lengths in front of runner&#45;up Poet&rsquo;s Word, with Highland Reel third. This year, at age 4, Cracksman is a dual Group 1 winner, yet his campaign has seemed somewhat disappointing considering pre&#45;season expectations.Cracksman, a son of Frankel, won the Prix Ganay and the Coronation Cup in his first two starts this year, but the Coronation Cup required serious work to beat an apparently inferior foe, Salouen. Cracksman was defeated by Poet&rsquo;s Word in the Prince of Wales&rsquo;s Stakes at Royal Ascot and hasn&rsquo;t run since, Gosden awaiting easing of the firmer course conditions that apparently trouble his charge. Cracksman wore blinkers in a recent workout and will race in them for the first time Saturday, with regular rider Frankie Dettori on his back. Just seven will line up against him &ndash; Capri, Crystal Ocean, Maverick Wave, Monarchs Glen, Rhododendron, Subway Dancer, and Verbal Dexterity. Crystal Ocean and Capri have the best shot at an upset. Crystal Ocean&rsquo;s top performances this year all came on a sturdier surface than he&rsquo;ll encounter at Ascot, but he has won on soft ground before, albeit in lesser company. Capri could be set for improvement in his third start after a layoff and ran decently for fifth in the Arc, and though his best race came going more than a half&#45;mile farther than the Champion distance when he won the 2017 St. Leger at Doncaster, he did beat Cracksman last year over good ground in the Irish Derby.