“To have a horse with the chance of achieving those kinds of feats is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” Bjorn Nielsen on his triple Gr.1 winner Stradivarius (#SeaTheStars) who will attempt to win the WH Stayers’ Million. Fascinating feature in the @RacingPost: https://t.co/MNnhj2nfLK pic.twitter.com/hGZcaYsfIA
— Aga Khan Studs (@AgaKhanStuds) August 21, 2018
Stradivarius has established himself as one of the leading horses over distance in flat racing and he will aim to join an elite company of competitors by winning his second Ascot Gold Cup in a row. The last horse to achieve the feat was the legendary Yeats, who claimed the crown four years on the bounce between 2006 and 2009.
Stradivarius was trainer John Gosden’s first winner at the prestigious event and he will be determined to make an impact to bridge the gap between himself and Aidan O’Brien. No trainer has been more successful than O’Brien in the Ascot Gold Cup, but Gosden could have a horse on his hands that could make a run at glory similar to that of Yeats.
The Irish-bred horse is backed in the latest horse racing betting odds at 6/4 to claim
the crown, although he will face stiff competition from the rest of the field. Stradivarius has been imperious over the last year, winning all six of his races. Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter could be the one to provide the threat given his propensity to perform on the major stage. However, Gosden has every reason to be confident in his charge defending his title at Ascot.
He entered the race last term as the favourite for the event. Frankie Dettori in the saddle ensured that he lived up to expectations with a fine performance down the stretch to beat out Vazirabad by three-quarters of a length, earning his place in the winners’ enclosure.
Stradivarius’ next test came at Glorious Goodwood in the Goodwood Cup Stakes. Andrea Atzeni took the reins for the odds-on favourite, and once again he put forward an accomplished performance to take the victory.
Torcedor provided the pressure on this occasion, but he was fast enough when it mattered the most to cross the finish line first by half-a-length. Dettori returned for the Lonsdale Cup Stakes at York where Stradivarius enhanced his reputation with another display of brilliance, using his speed to beat out Count Octave by a close margin.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 20, 2018
All eyes were on Gosden’s charge when he returned to Ascot for the British Champions Long Distance Cup at the end of the last campaign. In the race he faced competition from a variety of strong contenders, including O’Brien’s Sir Erec and Flag of Honour. Stradivarius was on form from the off, matching the pace of the leading group before upping the ante.
The four-year-old found his stride down the final furlong, pulling away from the field to clinch the victory by one-and-a-quarter lengths.
He returned to action at York for the Yorkshire Cup Stakes where he reeled off his sixth victory on the bounce. Gosden’s charge was clean in his ride and was able to beat out Southern France by a comfortable distance to kick start his season.
Stradivarius has not raced since and should be well rested for his run at making history. He has all the hallmarks of a horse that is destined to etch his place in history. Gosden will be hopeful that Dettori can guide the four-year-old to his seventh victory in a row – perhaps his most important of all.