No horse had ever won the Goodwood Cup four times until Stradivarius turned up. The best stayer of his era absolutely cemented his legacy with his own piece of history.
Stradivarius graced Glorious Goodwood once again, but faced a serious challenge. He had to give 15lb weight-for-age away to Queen’s Vase and Irish Derby hero Santiago.
The three-year-old raced keenly in the early stages following Nayef Road who made most of the running. Stradivarius tried to pick them up, but found himself boxed in on the inside.
Frankie Dettori didn’t panic, however, and when a gap finally appeared his mount quickened through it for a historic success. Stradivarius prevailed by a length, but could this be the last time we see him at a staying trip?
Trainer John Gosden revealed after the race that owner Bjorn Nielsen wants to drop the horse back in trip. Stradivarius is set for the Prix Foy, a trial for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and then a crack at France’s most famous race itself.
Nayef Road split the two market principals, turning away the challenge of Santiago but saw Gold Cup form confirmed from Royal Ascot. He needs marking up for that effort all the same.
Mixed reception from bookies to Goodwood Cup result
In betting terms for future races, the market has reacted in different ways to this renewal of the Goodwood Cup. Every punter will have their own view of how it unfolded too.
Some bookmakers have pushed Santiago out slightly for the St Leger. He is now a best-price 3/1 ante post for the final Classic of the season off the back of his 2 1/4 lengths third.
For a horse still developing, he was far from disgraced. Going back against his own age group at Doncaster over a furlong-and-a-half shy of the Goodwood Cup trip looks a plus.
A few bookies have cut Stradivarius for the Arc, meanwhile. He is as short as 12/1, but you can still get 16/1 with William Hill for that autumn feature.
It is hard to get carried away about Stradivarius in middle-distance races, because he hasn’t won one of any note. Stamina is his forte, but connections have earned the right to have a go.
How effective he will be over a mile-and-a-half remains doubtful. We already know Santiago stays 1m 6f after his Queen’s Vase victory at Royal Ascot.
There is also the small matter of Enable. If she tries to win a third Arc, then Frankie Dettori will have a choice of mounts.
Given Enable won a third King George, her own slice of history days before Stradivarius at Goodwood, she retains plenty of ability. Would Dettori really the proven middle-distance mare for a stayer in the Arc?
Battleground new 2000 Guineas favourite after Vintage success
Earlier on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood, Battleground emulated Pinatubo by following-up on his Chesham Stakes victory with a win in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes. That has seen bookmakers put him as the new market leader for the 2000 Guineas next year.
A beautifully bred Aidan O’Brien trained colt, Battleground is by War Front out of 2016 Arc heroine Found. Sent off at 13/8 for the 7f Vintage, he justified favouritism with a ready two-length victory over Devious Company.
The runner-up filled the same spot behind previous 2000 Guineas market leader Master Of The Seas when last in action. Juvenile form lines got tied together at Glorious Goodwood, so punters can now start to draw conclusions.
As Battleground kept on, he would probably get a mile already. The Vincent O’Brien National Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend looks the next obvious race for him.
Battleground is a short as 7/1 with a couple of firms for the 2000 Guineas with 10/1 available at Unibet for the first Classic of 2021.
Elsewhere at Glorious Goodwood, Space Blues took a competitive renewal of the Group 2 Lennox Stakes. He stormed down the outside of the field under William Buick for a ready two-length success over Duke Of Hazzard.
The runner-up encounter traffic problems and couldn’t get out, but that doesn’t take away from an eye-catching effort. Trainer Charlie Appleby said Space Blues would be heading to France for another crack at the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deuaville next.