Stradivarius aiming to seal Goodwood legacy with fifth Cup strike

Stradivarius could cap his exceptional career if he is able to win an unprecedented fifth Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes on Tuesday.

The eight-year-old will be reunited with Andrea Atzeni as he bids for a 19th victory at Group level and despite Frankie Dettori’s long association with the horse, it is somewhat fitting that the man who partnered the son of Sea The Stars to his first Goodwood Cup is back on board for what could be his swansong on the Sussex Downs.

Stradivarius’ longevity is a rarity in Flat racing and John Gosden, who trains in partnership with son Thady, counts himself lucky to have taken care of the great stayer for so long at his Clarehaven base, while still believing there is one last day in the spotlight for his stable stalwart.

“You are very lucky to have a horse or a racemare like that ever come to you, and then to enjoy their longevity and their amazing consistency at that top level,” said Gosden senior.

“That is testament to the horse, the breeder, and to have that constitution is pretty remarkable. That is probably what has been so fulfilling and the fact he is rather like Enable was – expressive, rather outgoing, joyous.

“His first Goodwood Cup and his first Gold Cup would be the highlights – winning the Goodwood Cup as a three-year-old and then the Gold Cup as a four-year-old. He has built on that down the years. There aren’t many Flat horses who stay around like him. When you have a horse like that, they are unique, and they need to be celebrated.”

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Stradivarius will cross swords again with Kyprios, who had him back in third in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, while last year’s race winner Trueshan is another familiar rival having twice beaten the Gosden runner last year, in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp and the Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

Gosden added: “It is pretty set who the key horses are in the Goodwood Cup. We’re happy at two miles or two and a half miles. Stradivarius would run a big race over a mile and a half. So, to that extent I have been pleased with him all along and we’re looking forward to it.

“He is quick on his feet and agile. That always helps around Goodwood. It is a downward turning track and he probably enjoys the twists and turns of it. He probably finds it quite entertaining, like a fairground ride.”

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Owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen (left) with Stradivarius following his Yorkshire Cup win in May (Tim Goode/PA)

Thady Gosden hailed the decision of owner Bjorn Nielsen to keep his popular runner in training for a seventh season, as well as the efforts of the team to keep the horse in top trim.

He added: “It’s great to have a horse on the Flat that keeps coming back and the public love, obviously it happens plenty over jumps.

“It is very sporting of Mr Nielsen to keep him in training, having bred a horse of that quality, and it is a great testament to the team here who have worked so hard with him over the years and maintain him at the level he’s been at for so long.”

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