Virtuoso Performance From Stradivarius

11 months ago

Stradivarius, trained by John Gsden (pictured above), produced a masterful display at York on Friday on the final day of the Dante meeting, easily brushing aside his rivals in the Group 2 MansionBet Yorkshire Cup to set the stage for a mouthwatering clash with Order of St George in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup on June 21.

Recommended at 2/1 earlier in the week on the ante-post preview, the winner was sent off a heavily supported 4/6 favourite under Frankie Dettori. Backers never had a moment’s worry as the son of the legendary Sea The Stars travelled sweetly throughout the one-mile-six-furlong staying contest, settling in behind runners before making his move as the field swept into the long Knavesmire straight.

Once given an inch of rein Stradivarius nonchalantly eased to the front on the stands side of the field, heading The Queen’s Call To Mind (10/1) before dancing away from his rivals with Dettori doing the bare minimum in the saddle. David Elsworth’s talented Desert Skyline (10/1) stayed to be three lengths behind the winner, just getting the better of the royal runner by a neck.

Last season’s Group 1 Goodwood Cup winner will next head to Royal Ascot and tackle both Aidan O’Brien’s outstanding star stayer and 2016 race winner Order Of St George, a top priced 5/2 now with Paddy Power, and the extra four furlongs of the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot marathon.

“You can’t practice a horse over two and a half miles at home so we’ll find out whether he’ll stay or not in the home straight at Ascot.

“It’s uncharted territory but he switches off, and that will have taken the freshness out of him.”

“Having any kind of winner is great, and having a big winner and a horse to follow through the season is phenomenal,” added winning owner-breeder Bjorn Neilsen. “I’ll be thinking of Stradivarius every day of the week this summer.”

An 11/2 shot for the Gold Cup prior to his York win, Stradivarius is now a top priced 3/1 chance with William Hill. He also put himself in line for the £1 million bonus for any horse that can win the big four staying races this season; the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup, and the Lonsdale Stakes back at York at the Ebor meeting in late-August.