News and STORIES

Stradivarius Wins Fourth Goodwood Cup

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Wednesday July 29, 2020
Stradivarius moved up to join the greats of the staying division, which includes names like Ardross, Le Moss, Sagaro, and Yeats, following his fourth victory in the Al Shaqab-backed Goodwood Cup (G1). However, he did manage to make his connections nervous for some of the races.

The actual problem came when regular rider Frankie Dettori got him buried in a pocket, but Stradivarius was able to break free and move ahead.

"I wasn't expecting the race to be run like that," said Dettori. "Santiago was the one I feared most. I was trying to get in front of him from the start, but Tom Marquand already had that spot, so I had to drop back to get cover."

"I got behind the wheels of Santiago, and I thought, with 15 pounds less on his back, he'd kick early and make the weight count, but it turned into a two-furlong sprint. I was worried when I was held in, but once the split came, I knew he was fine because his greatest weapon is his turn of foot—I don't remember a stayer with a turn of foot like his.

"If you want to sprint with Stradivarius, you've got to be pretty good, and, for all that I was boxed in for a furlong, once I got out, he's got too many gears. He's all heart."

Trainer John Gosden was also nervous for the entire Goodwood straight. 

"I was nervous and coming to the furlong pole. I was hoping things would open, but when the gap comes, he has a turn of foot," said Gosden.

"The one thing me and Frankie were clear about was to wait as long as we could and then pounce. We didn't want a slog the whole way up the straight, and I thought he rode him cannily. Thank goodness Frankie didn't have a crowd to wave at this year."

Stradivarius' Many Victories

Stradivarius passed up Double Trigger to have the most Goodwood Cups, becoming a four-time winner in the event. He also has three Gold Cup (G1) victories, two victories in both the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale (G2) and Yorkshire Cup (G2), and a single win in the Magners Rose Doncaster (G2) and QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cups (G2).

The horse's trainer, jockey, and owner Bjorn Nielsen all agree that Stradivarius has proved enough in the staying division so that he will go back to a mile and a half. His connections are pointing him toward a face-off with stablemate Enable in the Qatar Prix I'Arc de Triomphe (G1) in October. The event is quickly turning into an extremely high-level race with its probable field.

"Mr. Nielsen and I have discussed it quite a lot," said Gosden. "He has no problem traveling and quickening over a mile and a half, and he will be freshening up now and going for the Prix Foy (G2). If he runs a good race there, he will go for the Arc."  

When speaking on the matchup between Stradivarius and record-breaking King George winner Enable over a mile and a half, Gosden said: "She's exceptional and the best mile and a half horse I've ever trained in my life and ever will, and he's the best Cup horse.

"I'd say, if you got to a soft (ground) Arc, she'd go better than him, but I think he'd give her a race."

The Future 

Nielsen has already considered running the horse at 7, and he is specifically focused on one race.

"If he goes to stud (at the end of the season), he goes to stud, but I know Mr. Nielsen is looking at one race next year," Gosden said.

"The Gold Cup is exactly what he'd be looking at. You can run a mile and a half and then go two and a half because he's versatile. With the year we've had with this sinister disease, it's nice to have old friends like him and Enable around."