Stradivarius completes Gold Cup hat-trick in style at Royal Ascot

Stradivarius destroyed the opposition and completed a Gold Cup hat-trick at Royal Ascot. This was the fourth year in a row that John Gosden’s star stayer won at the premier Flat meeting in Britain.

Sent off the 4/5 favourite under Frankie Dettori, Stradivarius raced off the pace as Nayef Road made the running.

Despite being 10 lengths behind in the back straight, Bjorn Nielsen’s horse made up that ground turning for home and was challenging two out.

When Dettori asked Stradivarius to go about winning this race for the third time on the bounce, he shot clear of the field on the bridle.

In the past, this horse has only done enough to win. Not today. Stradivarius eased 10 lengths clear of Nayef Road at the line, while Cross Counter stayed on into a distant third.

The winner had his rivals strung out like washing. Despite worries that the rain which hit Royal Ascot went against him, Stradivarius cements his place an all-time staying great.

Martyn Meade’s Technician was the supposed danger on a softer surface, but completely failed to fire. The 4/1 Gold Cup second-favourite was almost 30 lengths behind Stradivairus.

Connections of Technician may regret not coming to Royal Ascot off the back of a prep run. Meade was in with the stewards to explain the poor performance of his Prix Royal-Oak winner.

Gosden mentioned the Goodwood Cup – a race Stradivarius has won in each of the last three years – as his next target in post-race comments.

He has also entered the six-year-old son of Sea The Stars in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe come the autumn.

Analysis: Superlatives don’t do Stradivarius justice

Jamie Clark, Editor

You can add up the winning margins of Stradivarius’ last nine wins, and they still don’t match the distance he put between himself and the opposition in one of the weakest renewals of the Gold Cup in recent memory.

Take nothing away from him though. Stradivarius was magnificent, and a great advert for keeping older horses in training.

A tenderly handled third on reappearance behind Ghaiyyath in the Coronation Cup over an inadequate trip a fortnight ago, this was the epitome of that horse racing cliche “coming on for the run”.

This was domination. Stradivarius didn’t just do enough to win, he blitzed the poor opposition who turned up at Royal Ascot. Multiple winners at the meeting year in, year out are a rare enough thing.

The confidence Dettori had on board Stradivarius, pulling down a set of goggles and having a cheeky look around. Great horses make great jockeys at Richard Pitman famously said.

Dettori said afterwards that Stradivarius was the greatest stayer he has ridden. On this evidence, it is impossible to argue that. Stradivarius prefers better going, but boy did he act on this softer surface.

It wasn’t the deeper autumn ground that Kew Gardens just prevailed on against him during Champions Day in October. Stradivarius really is a marvel, and I for one feel privileged to have seen him in the flesh before.

All sports need superstars. In Stradivarius, the Flat has a stayer who could easily become an influential National Hunt sire of tomorrow. His subsequent career at stud is something that excites me.

Sad I know, but that is a conversation for another day. For now, let’s all bask in the glory of Stradivarius and the wonderful tune Dettori gets out of him!

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