Santiago could take Goodwood Cup in en route to St Leger

Aidan O’Brien has trained the Goodwood Cup winner twice before in Yeats, but Santiago could head there next.

The three-year-old Galileo colt has made rapid progress this season, first landing the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot over 1m 6f.

Santiago followed-up on that Group 2 St Leger trial success with Classic glory and a game head victory in the Irish Derby over Tiger Moth.

O’Brien revealed a Goodwood Cup clash with Stradivarius is under consideration. In each of the last three years, John Gosden’s star stayer has won the 2m Group 1 event after Royal Ascot wins.

Stradivarius landed a third Gold Cup in emphatic style last month. Goodwood Cup race terms would be in the favour of Santiago, however, as three-year-olds get 15lb weight-for-age.

“It could be straight to the St Leger, but we have it in our head he could go to Goodwood,” O’Brien said of Santiago. “We will just see how he is between now and then.

“It will depend on what the lads want, but we have always thought he was a horse who would stay very well and he showed that at Ascot.”

Analysis: Santiago more than Dashing Willoughby in Goodwood Cup tilt

Jamie Clark, Editor

A three-year-old Royal Ascot winner tried and failed to stop Stradivarius notching a Goodwood Cup hat-trick last year.

Dashing Willoughby has since regained the winning thread, but the weight-for-age wasn’t enough. Santiago has achieved more than Andrew Balding’s Buckhounds Stakes scorer.

All three horses landed the Queen’s Vase, but only Santiago has gone on to Classic glory. It was not a vintage Irish Derby, and it’s easy to knock it on that basis.

The question with Stradivarius has always been what new, young challengers could emerge? Santiago may be the latest.

It’s still a long time until the St Leger in September, so it could be that O’Brien is worried about him losing race fitness.

The Coolmore lads love a gamble, though, and the Goodwood Cup would be exactly that. Race terms support Santiago, and bookmakers will be well aware of that, but taking on the best stayer of his generation is a risk.

Other than Kew Gardens by the narrowest of margins on deep ground, Stradivarius is undefeated over 2m plus. Stamina is not in doubt.

A month between races for Santiago gives him time to get over that Irish Derby finish. It was too close for comfort, but a Goodwood Cup outing is six weeks or so out from the St Leger.

Should he scalp Stradivarius, then the bookies would have no option but to make him odds-on for more Classic glory. It’s a clash that I, and many other Flat stayer aficionados, now want to see.

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