Mishriff set to miss Breeders’ Cup

Mishriff looks set to sidestep a trip to the Breeders’ Cup in California next month after trainer John Gosden said his stable star was in need of “a little bit of a rest”.

Last season’s French Derby winner has enjoyed a memorable campaign in 2021, which began with a huge international double as he won the Saudi Cup on dirt and the Dubai Sheema Classic on turf.

Having secured his first Group One on British soil in the Juddmonte International in August, the four-year-old was a hot favourite for last weekend’s Champion Stakes at Ascot.

But Mishriff could only finish fourth on Champions Day – and while both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Turf were raised as options earlier this week, he is set for a well-earned break.

“You need to be 100 percent happy that you’re doing the right thing,” Gosden told Daily Racing Form.

“He’s been a pretty busy boy.”

Mishriff still in the mix for Breeders’ Cup

A trip to the Breeders’ Cup remains on the table for Mishriff despite his defeat in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

John and Thady Gosden’s charge has enjoyed a memorable campaign, winning the Saudi Cup on dirt and the Sheema Classic on turf before securing his first Group One in Britain in the Juddmonte International.

He was a hot favourite to bag another major prize on Champions Day – but while he managed to finish in front of his King George conqueror Adayar on Saturday, he could manage only fourth behind French raider Sealiway.

Ted Voute, racing manager for Mishriff’s owner Prince Faisal, said: “It was slightly disappointing. We beat the Derby winner, but we got swallowed up by horses who enjoyed the going a bit better than us.

“They had a bit of rain in the morning – and with both John and the jockey (David Egan), the first thing out of their mouths was that he wasn’t going on the ground. You have to bow to their experience.”

Mishriff appears most likely to run on the grass in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar next month, although Voute suggests a return to the dirt for the Breeders’ Cup Classic could also be worth considering.

Connections of Mishriff at York
Connections of Mishriff at York (Nigel French/PA)

He added: “John wants everything to be right for us to go, but that (Breeders’ Cup) is his next target.

“It was spoken about on Sunday, and the early indications were that he came out of the race okay. At the moment we’ve all been told to act as if we’re going, and the horse will let us know whether he’s ready.

“John and the Prince will decide where to go. I suspect they’ll go to the Turf – although just glancing through the Classic, I’d be happy to consider that race as well.

“It’s up the Prince and John really – and it’s down to Mishriff and his wellbeing.

“All the boxes have got to be ticked, and I’m sure John and the Prince will make the right decision.”

King wary of swift returns as Trueshan and Stradivarius clash again

Alan King admits only time will tell how much a slog in the Paris mud took out of both Trueshan and Stradivarius ahead of their mouthwatering rematch in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Trueshan will be favourite to make it back-to-back wins in the Champions Day opener, having inflicted a comprehensive defeat on legendary stayer Stradivarius in the Prix du Cadran.

The pair renew rivalry just a fortnight later – and while King has been happy with his stable star since his French triumph, he acknowledges the two-week gap is not ideal.

“We haven’t done much with him since Longchamp, but he had a little breeze on Wednesday and Dan (Horsford), who rides him every day, was happy with him,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

“We’re under no illusions, it’s only two weeks since the two of them had a hard race, but it’s Trueshan’s last race of the season, so he’s got all winter to get over it.

“We think he’s OK, but we can’t really be certain until we get on the track. We’ve tried to keep him as fresh as possible and we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

While conditions will not be quite as demanding as they were in the Bois de Boulogne, King has no concerns regarding the going in Berkshire.

He added: “The ground will be fine. I can’t see it drying out too much. I’ve always said I’d run him on good ground, so I’m not that worried.

“We’re happy, but there is that question mark and there’s no point pretending otherwise.”

Frankie Dettori leaps from Stradivarius after winning his second Doncaster Cup
Frankie Dettori leaps from Stradivarius after winning his second Doncaster Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stradivarius has dominated the staying division in recent seasons, with his illustrious CV including three Gold Cups, four Goodwood Cups, three Lonsdale Cups, two Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

John and Thady Gosden’s seven-year-old also won the Long Distance Cup in 2018 and was narrowly beaten by Kew Gardens in 2019, but finished a long way behind behind Trueshan 12 months ago.

John Gosden has spoken of his regret at sending his entire to Paris earlier in the month, with conditions set to be more in his favour this weekend.

“We very much wish that we hadn’t run there, as it looks as if he will get ground closer to what he wants at Ascot,” said the Clarehaven handler.

“We are not mad keen on coming back after just 14 days, but once it was clear he wasn’t handling the ground (at ParisLongchamp), Frankie (Dettori) didn’t get after him too much.”

Tony Mullins with Princess Zoe
Tony Mullins with Princess Zoe (PA)

The Tony Mullins-trained Princess Zoe is also making a quick return to action, having finished fifth behind Trueshan and Stradivarius when defending her Cadran crown.

Mullins said: “Trueshan is the one to beat. I’m hoping that we’ll be competitive with Stradivarius, who was a great champion, but he’s coming near the end of his peak.

“We’re going to give it a go. Coming back two weeks after the Cadran is a major factor – it’s a worry for Trueshan and it’s also a worry for us.

“We’re hopeful that Princess Zoe will run as well, if not better, at Ascot.”

William Haggas saddles both Hamish and Roberto Escobarr, with the former holding particularly strong claims judged on his defeat of the high-class Hukum in the September Stakes at Kempton last month.

“If you want to take the Hukum line at face value, Hamish would definitely have a chance. I don’t think we saw Hukum at his best at Kempton, but Hamish is a good horse all the same,” said Haggas.

“I believe the ground is going to be on the soft side of good, probably dead, and that will suit Hamish.

“He’s in good form, he did his last bit (on Wednesday morning) and he looks great.

“Roberto I’d have to say is better on top of the ground, so it might be a bit dead for him.

“But he’s a very genuine stayer and we’re going to put some cheekpieces on him on Saturday and a tongue-tie and hope that that can eke out a bit of improvement.

“Whether it will eke out the stone improvement he needs to be competitive, I don’t know. But he will run and we look forward to it, he looks really well.”

Ascot rematch for star stayers Trueshan and Stradivarius

Trueshan and Stradivarius will renew their rivalry at Ascot on Saturday after both stood their ground for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

With Trueshan missing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Stradivarius sidestepping the Goodwood Cup, the pair finally met for the first time this season at ParisLongchamp a fortnight ago.

And after a thrilling battle up the home straight, it was the Alan King-trained Trueshan who asserted late on to claim his second Group One success in impressive style in the Prix du Cadran.

Trueshan will be a hot favourite to make it back-to-back Long Distance Cup wins under Hollie Doyle, who returns to the saddle after missing his French success due to suspension.

John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius was a brave second in Paris and connections will be hoping the sounder surface will help him bridge the gap on Qipco Champions Day.

Tony Mullins’ stable star Princess Zoe, who could finish only fifth when defending her Cadran crown, is also part of the 12-strong field, as is the William Haggas-trained Hamish.

Art Power heads a maximum field of 20 runners for the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

Art Power at the Curragh
Art Power at the Curragh (PA)

Tim Easterby’s charge was beaten just a length into fourth place 12 months ago and returns with strong claims after a runaway victory in the Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh.

Archie Watson saddles defending champion Glen Shiel, as well as Dragon Symbol, who would certainly not be winning out of turn having gone close in a string of Group One events this season.

Creative Force (Charlie Appleby) and Minzaal (Owen Burrows) are among the other hopefuls.

Dual Classic heroine Snowfall appears to have a good opportunity to get back on the winning trail in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

The daughter of Deep Impact was brilliant in winning the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks, but was beaten at short odds in the Prix Vermeille and could finish only sixth in the Arc.

But with Free Wind and La Petite Coco both notable absentees, Snowfall will be well fancied to secure a fourth Group One win.

Her trainer Aidan O’Brien also saddles La Joconde, with course and distance winner Albaflora (Ralph Beckett) also one of eight runners declared.

The Gosden team are responsible for the first two in the betting for the concluding Balmoral Handicap, with Frankie Dettori’s mount Sunray Major heading the market ahead of stablemate King Leonidas.

Aldaary (Haggas) and Nugget (Richard Hannon) are others to consider in a wide-open contest.

Bahrain contest on Mostahdaf radar

Mostahdaf could have booked himself a ticket for the Bahrain International Trophy on November 19 with his impressive display at Newmarket last week.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained three-year-old took his impressive career record to five wins from six starts in the Darley Stakes.

His sole defeat came in the St James’s Palace Stakes and while Saturday was his first race over further than a mile, John Gosden feels 10 furlongs could bring out even more improvement.

He said: “Mostahdaf hasn’t done a lot wrong. He got boxed in during the St James’s Palace Stakes and that was the end of it.

“We’ve always thought of him as a 10-furlong horse. His half-sister (Nazeef) won two Group One races at a mile. She was by Invincible Spirit, and he is by Frankel, so we are pretty confident a mile and a quarter is his best trip. He is a classy horse.

“There is the Bahrain International Trophy as an option in November, but we will talk about it with everybody, and we will see how we want to play it”

Mostahdaf is one of 78 entries from 10 different countries. Other standouts include Group One winners Thundering Nights, Barney Roy, Desert Encounter and Lord Glitters.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Real World, William Haggas’ Dubai Honour, Jim Goldie’s Euchen Glen and William Knight’s Sir Busker are other familiar names with the option.

Unbeaten Inspiral puts reputation on line in Fillies’ Mile

Inspiral bids to cement her place at the head of ante-post lists for next year’s Classics in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

Bred to be very smart as a daughter of Frankel out of high-class racemare Starscope, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned youngster has so far lived up to her blue-blooded pedigree with a hat-trick of victories.

An impressive debut performance at Newmarket has been followed by even more dominant displays in the Star Stakes at Sandown and the May Hill at Doncaster, meaning she tops the betting for both next season’s 1000 Guineas and Oaks.

Inspiral is widely expected to stretch her unbeaten record to four over the Rowley Mile, but connections are taking nothing for granted.

“She’s done everything right so far and is a lovely filly,” said Cheveley Park’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“She’s working well – but this is a big step up, and she’ll be racing on some rain-softened ground, which she hasn’t encountered before. Her mother went on it – and what will be will be.

“Dreams may be shattered, but we may have even bigger dreams for next year if all goes our way.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Inspiral is one of two unbeaten fillies in Friday’s nine-strong field, along with the James Ferguson-trained Mise En Scene.

The daughter of Siyouni has so far won a novice event at Haydock and the Group Three Prestige Stakes at Goodwood – and got a taste for the undulations of Newmarket during a recent racecourse gallop.

Mise En Scene (right) in action at Goodwood
Mise En Scene (right) in action at Goodwood (Adam Davy/PA)

Ferguson said: “After Goodwood, the first thing Oisin (Murphy) said was that she needs a mile.

“Although the Rockfel is a wonderful race, I didn’t think she had much to prove. She came out of Goodwood fine, but I didn’t think there was much point running over seven (furlongs) again, so we decided to come straight here.

“She did a nice piece of work on the racecourse and she seemed to handle it fine. We are very lucky the track is on our doorstep.

“I understood her price (7-1) at Goodwood, because in her race at Haydock she beat nothing. I knew she was good enough to get black type and I was expecting a good run, but the fact she won was fantastic.

“Oisin rode her very coolly, and if he wanted to he could have got there quicker. He was aware he was going to get there and gave her a beautiful ride, but I think with another furlong she would have gone again.”

Charlie Appleby’s Wild Beauty was no match for Inspiral in Sandown’s Star Stakes, but has since won a Grade One at Woodbine.

“We were delighted to see Wild Beauty win a G1 in Canada, when she improved for the step up to a mile,” Appleby told

“She has taken that race well and goes into this with plenty of experience at a high level.”

Irish raiders Concert Hall (Aidan O’Brien) and Magical Lagoon (Jessica Harrington) also feature.

O’Brien said of his filly, by Dubawi out of the Oaks winner Was: “She’s been improving with every run.

“We’ve been really happy with her – we were pleased with her last run when she won the Group Three at the Curragh.

“We always thought she’d stay further than a mile, and she has seen the seven furlongs out really well in her last few races.

“She’ll be happy that the ground is nice. That’s in her favour.”

Mostahdaf back in the groove with Sandown Listed success

Mostahdaf made the most of having his sights lowered when getting back on the winning trail in the Chasemore Farm Fortune Stakes at Sandown.

Having made it three wins from as many starts in the Heron Stakes over the same course and distance in May, the son of Frankel was stepped up to Group One level for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot – where he beat only one rival home.

Dropping back down to Listed class for his latest assignment, John and Thady Gosden’s charge was the 7-4 favourite in the hands of Jim Crowley and ultimately got the job done in good style.

The keen-going Rhoscolyn was in there pitching as things started to hot up inside the final two furlongs, with Mostahdaf travelling strongly and the popular Sir Busker produced with his challenge between the pair.

It was Escobar who emerged as the biggest threat to Mostahdaf, however – and while the market leader carried his rival across the track when coming under maximum pressure, he was well on top as he passed the post half a length in front.

Thady Gosden said: “We were very pleased with him, because he has had a bit of time off. He hit a couple of ridges up the straight, but he handled the track as they had plenty of rain here yesterday. It was soft enough for him, but his class got him through.

“He is a nice horse for next year definitely, but we will see how he comes out of the race and if we do anything with him for the rest of the season.”

Mostahdaf was completing a double on the card for the Gosden team following the earlier success of 2-1 shot Damaar and Robert Havlin in the Blandford Bloodstock Novice Stakes.

Goldspur after winning at Sandown
Goldspur after winning at Sandown (PA)

The Charlie Appleby-trained Goldspur earned quotes for next year’s Cazoo Derby at Epsom following his impressive debut success in the Time Test EBF Novice Stakes.

Sent off the 2-1 favourite under James Doyle, the Dubawi colt looks destined for bigger better things – judged on the way he stretched six and a half lengths clear.

“I was pleased with that run,” said Appleby.

“He is a horse that has got plenty of stamina in his pedigree, so he will be a mile-and-a-half horse for next year.

“Going forward we will look at stepping him up to a mile and a quarter and point him at something like the Zetland Stakes.

“I’m very pleased that he is a big margin winner, but soft ground has come into play for him there.”

Stradivarius strolls to his second Doncaster Cup

Superstar stayer Stradivarius produced another imperious display to bag his second Doncaster Cup.

John and Thady Gosden’s seven-year-old has dominated the division in recent seasons, with his illustrious CV including three Gold Cups at Royal Ascot, four Goodwood Cups, three Lonsdale Cups and two Yorkshire Cups.

With his chief rival Trueshan missing this potential clash on account of unsuitable ground, Stradivarius was the 4-11 favourite to regain his crown on Town Moor – and the result was scarcely ever in doubt.

Given a confident ride by Frankie Dettori, the son of Sea The Stars cruised into contention in the home straight, with the popular Italian looking round for non-existent dangers as he moved alongside the front-running Nayef Road.

Once given his head, Stradivarius readily extended clear – passing the post with two and a half lengths in hand over Alerta Roja, who beat Nayef Road to the runner-up spot.

Gosden said: “He’s a wonderful horse. He’s been great at home. He’s enjoyed all his training. He loves his racing and likes coming racing.

“He’s a phenomenon.

Frankie Dettori celebrates with a flying dismount
Frankie Dettori celebrates with a flying dismount (PA)

“I had no qualms about coming here. He senses a horse coming to him and plays cat and mouse with them now.

“I couldn’t have been more thrilled with him. I’m sorry the other horse (Trueshan) didn’t run but maybe we’ll meet one day.

“He’s had a great season. He’s won three out of four. Frankie’s ride in the Gold Cup wasn’t his greatest. The winner was mighty impressive and the sad thing for me in the year is that we couldn’t run at Goodwood, because he adores Goodwood.

“His enthusiasm is there 100 per cent and I can assure everyone who loves him, the moment it’s not there he will be retired. Until that day comes, which he will tell us, he will race.”

Gosden is now considering the autumn options in France and Britain for Stradivarius.

He said: “There are two races in the autumn – the Cadran and Ascot (Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup). Ascot last year was heavy and he hated it. Those are the options. It will be one not both.

“He’ll go on summer soft but not when it goes autumn deep. He cannot take it. It was a mistake to run him in it last year and in the Arc.

“He lives a bit on the edge. He lets us know what he wants. I’ve always adored stayers and to train him is a dream come true.”

Dettori added: “That was great. It’s probably the easiest race he’s had since last year when he was here.

“He made it look easy again. He still loves his racing.”

Classic favourite Inspiral puts reputation on the line in May Hill

Inspiral, ante-post favourite for the Qipco 1000 Guineas, bids to enhance her prospects further in the Cazoo May Hill Stakes at Doncaster on Thursday.

Two wins from two starts, including an impressive victory in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown, have seen the daughter of Frankel leap to the head of the betting for the fillies’ Classic next spring.

Inspiral now steps up to Group Two level, as trainer John Gosden seeks a sixth May Hill win.

“She’s done well physically since Sandown, but it is nerve-wracking stepping into this company,” said Chris Richardson, racing manager for owners, Cheveley Park Stud.

“She’s done nothing wrong, the mare was very talented and it will be interesting to see if she can step up to Group Two level.

“As a yearling she carried herself in a special way. She’s a character, but she’s very professional. It doesn’t happen very often, that you pick one out you think might be special very early on.

“We’d have maybe 40 fillies going into training and you’d hope four or five at least show a decent level of ability early on, it’s just a feel really, when all the boxes get ticked.

“It was one of those races at Sandown where you wondered if Frankie (Dettori) might have been riding with a bit too much confidence but she certainly powered home in impressive style.

“We’ll just go a race at a time, but if it all goes well I’d imagine Mrs Thompson might want to run in the Fillies’ Mile which will then give us a guide to next year.

“Her mother (Starscope) was second in the Guineas and Coronation so you put the best to the best and hope you get something like this.

“It’s been a sad year for the Thompson family so it’s nice to have a filly like her to look forward to.”

Andrew Balding is looking forward to seeing how Speak fares in Group company
Andrew Balding is looking forward to seeing how Speak fares in Group company (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Speak goes straight from winning a maiden over this trip of a mile at Kempton on her debut into Pattern company.

The George Strawbridge-owned filly defeated Natasha in the same colours by a length and three-quarters and the runner-up went on to win her only subsequent race by five lengths.

Trainer Andrew Balding has been delighted with Speak and is hoping the forecast rain arrives.

“I’m very happy with her. She always looked like a nice filly at home. The second has gone on and won since. The form is probably quite strong and it’s a step up in class,” said the Kingsclere handler.

“Hopefully they get some of the forecast rain. We wouldn’t want the ground too quick for her. She’s a nice filly and I’m looking forward to seeing her run.”

Ed Walker is also praying for rain for Kawida, who got off the mark in good style on her third start at Haydock after finishing second on her first two starts.

“I’m hoping for a bit of rain. If the ground is too quick we’ll have to scratch. She didn’t love the quick ground at Newmarket. We’ll get a good feel of how the ground is and see,” said the Lambourn handler.

“She’s a nice filly and progressive. We were disappointed when she got beaten at Newmarket. She won well next time and they pulled a long way clear of the third.

“She’s a well-bred filly and deserves to take her chance in a race like this. I’m hoping she’ll run a big race.”

Stradivarius headlines Doncaster Cup possibles

Superstar stayer Stradivarius heads 16 high-class entries for Friday’s Doncaster Cup.

John and Thady Gosden’s popular seven-year-old could bid for a second victory in the Town Moor showpiece, having struck gold in 2019.

He was last seen bagging his third win in the Lonsdale Cup at York last month, adding to his collection of big-race victories which includes three Gold Cups at Royal Ascot, four Goodwood Cups and two Yorkshire Cups.

Stradivarius was made to pull out all the stops by Spanish Mission on his latest appearance, coming out on top by only a head after a titanic tussle on the Knavesmire, although Andrew Balding’s charge will not renew rivalry on this occasion.

Alan King has entered Goodwood Cup winner Trueshan, while Henry de Bromhead’s mare Lismore would be a fascinating challenger. She has not been seen since winning the Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May.

Further competition comes in the shape of three strong Joseph O’Brien representatives – Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment, Master Of Reality and the prolific Baron Samedi.

David Simcock’s Rodrigo Diaz is being aimed at the Melbourne Cup after his runner-up finish in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes and could feature – as could Tony Mullins’ Gold Cup second Princess Zoe.

The main supporting race on day three of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival is the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes.

Chipotle returns to the scene of his Brocklesby Stakes victory
Chipotle returns to the scene of his Brocklesby Stakes victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The five-furlong contest gives the opportunity for speedy juveniles to prove their worth at Group Two level and an interesting renewal looks in store, with Richard Hannon’s Prix Morny fourth Armor setting the standard.

Corazon was a Group Three winner in France during the week for George Boughey and has been given an entry, as has Chipotle by Eve Johnson Houghton. The youngster won the Brocklesby on the opening day of the season at Doncaster and had his latest start against his elders in the Nunthorpe Stakes.

Also on the card is the Listed Cazoo Flying Scotsman Stakes – won by none other than Frankel in 2010, when it was a conditions race.

Among the 16 possibles is the Richard Hannon-trained Razzle Dazzle, who impressed in victory last time out at Newmarket.

Hugo Palmer went to York’s Ebor meeting with high hopes for Dubawi Legend and he could bid to bounce back after his disappointing Acomb run.

Super Stradivarius still a staying colossus

Flat racing has many fixed features, the racecourses remain the same, the fixture list changes only slightly, the whole travelling circus moves from track to track in an unchanged order season after season.

But the horses continually flow across the turf and off to stud in a cycle that affords us a relatively brief glimpse of the finest equine athletes before they are tasked with producing the next generation.

Bucking that trend is the beloved chestnut Stradivarius, who is in the thick of his sixth season in training having sportingly been kept in action by owner Bjorn Nielsen.

Stradivarius refused to buckle against Spanish Mission
Stradivarius refused to buckle against Spanish Mission (Nigel French/PA)

Nielsen makes up a third of the trio associated with the seven-year-old, with Frankie Dettori and John Gosden the other principal figures in the Stradivarius corner – though Gosden’s son Thady has recently been added to the Clarehaven licence.

Stradivarius’ career is one that no one has ever found good reason to end, regardless of his age and his status as an entire horse capable of becoming a sire.

He has won four Goodwood Cups, three Gold Cups, two Yorkshire Cups and now three Lonsdale Cups.

He has been beaten by a small margin and has been beaten by a longer margin and he has, without fail, dusted himself off and returned to another parade ring at another racecourse with all of the machismo of an undefeated heavyweight.

His age is not immaterial, however, and a beaten run in the Gold Cup at Ascot caused some to suspect that a changing of the guard may be afoot.

His trip to the Knavesmire, a track on which he is undefeated, was his chance to silence those suggestions and prove that there are pages yet to be turned in the Stradivarius story.

Frankie Dettori salutes the crowd as he returns aboard Stradivarius
Frankie Dettori salutes the crowd as he returns aboard Stradivarius (Nigel French/PA)

The Lonsdale Cup only attracted a field of four, with Trueshan a non-runner after the forecast rained failed to fall and produce his obligatory soft ground.

Two of those contenders were unable to trouble Stradivarius. The Grand Visir went off hard and fast but ultimately faded and Willie Mullins’ Stratum never really looked a danger.

It was Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission that ensured the small-field affair was no walkover, throwing himself into a neck-and-neck duel with the reigning champion from the two-furlong pole to the winning post.

The naked eye could just identify Stradivarius’ white-striped face dipping across the line ahead of his opponent, and a photo finish then ensured his fist was raised by the judge and he was deemed the victor.

It was the sort of box-office finish every racing fan relishes, it was the last-gasp grit of a horse who seemed intent on proving that not only is his ability still intact, but also that his will to win is not fading in the slightest.

Jubilant scenes at York
Jubilant scenes at York (Nigel French/PA)

Dettori never attempts to conceal his emotions and this victory left the Italian at his most effusive, unsurprising perhaps considering that this partnership has been one of the defining features of the rider’s recent career.

“I just love the horse so much,” he said.

“He (Spanish Mission) passed me, I passed him, he passed me again and then on the line Stradivarius said ‘boom…I’ve won!’.

“He did it all himself, I kept him close to keep him interested as he likes to have a target, but with four runners I always knew what was going to happen.

“I had to play cat and mouse a bit with William (Buick, Spanish Mission) but when it really came down to it, he went again.

“He likes to chase one, we knew where the line was, he stuck out his neck and said ‘I’ve won this, thank you’.”

Gosden was similarly thrilled to see this stalwart of the staying division back to his brilliant best having been drawn into a tussle that required every ounce of his vim.

“Full marks to him, it was a great performance,” he said.

“He still enjoys his training, he’s very enthusiastic – a stronger-run race at his age, so he can come at them, probably suits him better.

“The horse will tell us, it’s not our decision, as long as he’s enjoying his racing and training and he’s very enthusiastic, which he is and he’s a very happy horse, he has a very good sense of humour as well, as long as you’ve got all of that then fine, we keep racing.

“The moment that seems to be fading, that’s when we stop.

“He used to sting like a butterfly and float like a bee, but he’s a little more rope a dope now!”

But the sting in the tail is evidently still present and Gosden’s willingness to discuss future entries suggests the Stradivarius era is not winding to a close just yet.

The Doncaster Cup and the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot were both mentioned, races in which his appearance is likely to inspire the same rousing reception he enjoyed on the Knavesmire.

He may be ageing and he cannot rule the division forever, but Stradivarius remains ​the Goliath that nobody wants to see fall at the hands of David.

Stradivarius wins Lonsdale Cup thriller

Stradivarius became the first horse to win the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup three times when edging out Spanish Mission in a tremendous finish at York.

Five other top stayers, including Further Flight and Persian Punch, had won the race twice – and Stradivarius showed the fire still burns bright with a battling performance under his regular pilot Frankie Dettori.

Spanish Mission and William Buick made the John and Thady Gosden-trained seven-year-old fight all the way and was narrowly in front at one stage, only for Stradivarius to find that little bit extra in the dying strides to win by a head.

The paid had the Group Two stamina test to themselves after The Grand Visir had taken the four-runners into the long straight.

Stradivarius (4-6 favourite) knuckled down when it looked as though Spanish Mission might lower his colours to record his 18th victory.

Dettori and Stradivarius paraded in front of the packed stands and were given a tremendous reception all the way back to the winner’s enclosure, where the jockey gave his trademark flying dismount.

The Italian said: “When we went across the line and they announced the result there was a big roar from the crowd, an explosion.

“I love the horse so much. He’s not getting any younger, it was always going to be a messy race and I was using Richard (Kingscote on The Grand Visir) as a reference point, but when William came I had to go straight for home.

“He only does enough when he hits the front and William wouldn’t go away! He passed me, I passed him back then he passed me again – but I think he knows where the line is as he popped his head out just in time!

Frankie Dettori jumps for joy from Stradivarius
Frankie Dettori jumps for joy from Stradivarius (Nigel French/PA)

“My heart lost a few beats, I’ll be honest, but it was a tremendous horse race and the reception he got was special.”

He went on: “I didn’t want to kick too early, but I didn’t want to get jumped on either. Strad is a horse who likes a target and unfortunately we didn’t have it, so I pushed Strad close to William to make him race.

“Every time he’s run here I think he’s run below par. I feel he’s much better at Ascot, but we got the job done so I won’t criticise him.

“John, Rab (Havlin) – the whole team have done a great job with him, he’s a joy to have as he’s such a character. I’m feeling emotional.”

Gosden senior said: “It was always going to be a fascinating race, Spanish Mission put it up to him and Frankie said he was headed, then he got back and then he was headed again and he got back – it was a proper race for everyone to watch.

“He’s phenomenal, to have won four Goodwood Cups, three Gold Cups, three Lonsdales now, three Yorkshire Cups, a Doncaster Cup – all those miles of racing, never mind miles of training.

“Full marks to him, a great performance and we’ll see what we want to do next.

“He still enjoys his training, he’s very enthusiastic, a stronger-run race at his age, so he can come at them, probably suits him better.

“The horse will tell us, it’s not our decision, as long as he’s enjoying his racing and training and he’s very enthusiastic, which he is and he’s a very happy horse, he has a very good sense of humour as well – as long as you’ve got all of that then fine, we keep racing.

“The moment that seems to be fading that’s when we stop.”

Reflecting on the finish, he added: “I was just waiting for the photo finish, I’ve got it wrong before so I’ve learned to just wait.

“His enthusiasm is perfect, he won the Sagaro and if Frankie could ride the Ascot Gold Cup again he’d ride it differently, he sat too far back and he got in trouble.

“I’m not saying for one moment he’d beat the winner (Subjectivist), but my God he’d have given him a good race.

“He loves Goodwood, he loves the twists, but then there was 60 millimetres of rain the night before so that, to me, was the biggest disappointment.

“He was headed, he came back, he was headed again and he came back – that to me shows a lot of willingness.

“He’s not a horse you train, I let him train himself. If you get a great player, a great footballer and they come to your club, if you start thinking when they’re 30 or 32 that you’re going to start drilling them, they’ll tell you what to do with your management.

“It’s the same, you play with him and let him train the way he wants to.”

On immediate plans, Gosden said: “The Doncaster Cup is a possibility and there is Champions Day, I hope it’s decent ground but if it’s bottomless we might have to reroute.”

Spanish Mission (left) went down fighting
Spanish Mission (left) went down fighting (Nigel French/PA)

Anna Lisa Balding, assistant trainer to her husband Andrew, was proud of the runner-up.

She said: “He’s run a hell of a race and I actually thought we’d won when he went ahead. I thought we’d got him, but we didn’t.

“Someone just said to me to have a good race you need two good horses and he had it everywhere bar the line.

“We’ll stick to Plan A, Australia here we come (for the Melbourne Cup) and let’s hope he does his stuff out there.

“It will mean two weeks in a hotel probably so I’m not sure who’ll be putting their hand up for that trip!”

Reach For The Moon set to star in Solario

Reach For The Moon takes the next small step in his attempt to leap up the racing ladder when he bids for glory in the Betway Solario Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.

The Sea The Stars colt, owned by the Queen and already third-favourite for the 2000 Guineas, has looked a bright prospect with a first career victory at Newbury preceded by an excellent run behind Classic market leader Point Lonsdale in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Reach The Moon had no trouble in beating Harrow by four lengths to open his account – and the runner-up franked the form at York this week.

John Gosden, who trains the youngster with his son, Thady, said: “After Reach For The Moon won his maiden at Newbury we said we would go for the Solario. I’ve been pleased with his preparation and it is always a race that I like to target.

“It is a big step up in class for him, but hopefully he can handle it. The horse that was second to him last time won at York on Thursday and that all helps.

“He is progressive at this stage of his career, but he is still a very young horse and this is another stepping stone. He is a nice looking individual that has made a good start to his career. I thought he quickened well at Newbury and I thought both divisions of the race that day were good.”

Michael Bell is counting on a change of tactics helping first time out Newbury scorer Great Max, who finished one place behind Reach For The Moon in the Chesham Stakes.

“He has got a bit to find with Reach For The Moon, who he finished behind in the Chesham at Royal Ascot. He looks a picture at the moment and hopefully he will give a good account of himself,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He was quite prominent last time in the Superlative Stakes and that probably didn’t help him, but he will be ridden differently this time.”

Andrew Balding believes Star From Afarhh, the sole filly in the field, is more than capable of building on her debut success at Newmarket.

“It is a little bit difficult to know what she beat, but there has already been a couple of winners come out of that race, so the form is working out reasonably well,” said the Kingsclere trainer.

“She is taking on the colts this time, but she is a filly that that has been working well and the seven furlongs at Sandown should suit her. She was very professional and did it well at Newmarket and her home work has improved.”

The Martyn Meade-trained Cresta is expected to give a good account of himself after accounting for the odds-on Modern Games on his debut at Leicester.

Freddie Meade, assistant to his father, said: “We always thought a bit of the horse, he has taken time to come to hand but the last couple of weeks before his run he showed us some good things.

“We were pleased with the way he did it at Leicester, although he did quite a few things the wrong way round. He was slow away and he raced alone in the middle of the track, but the times looked good and he did it nicely.

Cresta (left) makes a winning debut at Leicester
Cresta (left) makes a winning debut at Leicester (David Davies/PA)

“We thought it was worth throwing him in the deep end and see where we go. He probably wants a mile in time, but a stiff seven should be ideal now. Fingers crossed he runs well.”

Atheby may be the only maiden in the field but trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam feels the son of Guitafan could outrun his big price tag.

She said: “He finished third behind a nice Godolphin horse at Chelmsford and he was steaming at home at the finish so the extra furlong should suit. It is a small field and he will be in the hustle and bustle if he jumps well.”

Chapple-Hyam has a leading contender in Saffron Beach as she lines up for the other Group Three race on the card, the Betway Atalanta Stakes.

The New Bay filly has not lived up to the heights of her second in the 1000 Guineas, but she had a legitimate excuse for a below-par effort in the Falmouth Stakes last time.

Saffron Beach has the services of Hollie Doyle in the Atalanta Stakes
Saffron Beach has the services of Hollie Doyle in the Atalanta Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“She scoped dirty after the Falmouth, but she has had a course of antibiotics. We re-scoped her after that and she was clear and she has been clear ever since,” said the Newmarket handler.

“Adam Kirby can’t do the weight and David Egan is at York, but we have managed to secure Hollie Doyle. Hollie came and sat on her on Wednesday and did a strong canter up Long Hill and she loved her.

“I’m happy with the way she has trained and I can’t fault her. I think she will love the stiff finish there. She certainly does deserve more black type.”

Last season’s Group One Fillies’ Mile runner-up Indigo Girl is expected to improve considerably for her comeback fourth at Ascot, according to Gosden senior.

Indigo Girl is expected to improve for her seasonal debut effort
Indigo Girl is expected to improve for her seasonal debut effort (David Davies/PA)

He said: “She has only had the one run this year as she has had a series of niggles that have held her back. Hopefully she will come forward for her first run.

“She over raced a little bit and she didn’t end up seeing it out. She is a strong-willed filly and as long as she puts her best foot forward she has got the ability.”

Balding is hoping Auria can handle the step up in grade as she attempts to follow up her Listed victory over the course and distance last month.

“She is an improving filly and is already a course and distance winner. There is some rain around which will suit her,” he said.

“She will stay further than this in time but she did it well here the last day but this is a much stronger race and it has been the plan since she won here last time.”

Lonsdale hat-trick in Stradivarius’ sights at York

Stradivarius bids to prove the fire still burns bright by bagging a third victory in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York.

Having been beaten on four of his last five starts, the great stayer has lost the aura of invincibility he had a couple of seasons ago, but trainer John Gosden is confident he retains plenty of enthusiasm for racing.

As well as having three Gold Cups, four Goodwood Cups, a couple of Yorkshire Cups and a Doncaster Cup in the bag, Stradivarius landed successive renewals of the Lonsdale in 2018 and 2019 – victories which saw him plunder the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million.

While that lucrative bonus is no longer on offer, the seven-year-old will undoubtedly bring the house down if he can make it five from five on the Knavesmire under Frankie Dettori on Friday.

“We’re going to York, a track he knows well, on ground he likes,” said Gosden.

“He’s in great form. We’re very aware that he’s not as young as he used to be, but then neither is the trainer or the jockey!

“If he runs well then I’m happy to have a look at the Doncaster Cup, then you can see how you want to play it.

“He’s still enjoying his training, is enthusiastic as ever, but I’m taking it one race at a time.”

Stradivarius has been off the track since finishing fourth in his bid for another Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June, having since missed Goodwood on account of unsuitable ground.

Alan King’s proven mud lover Trueshan, on the other hand, sidestepped the Gold Cup before providing his trainer with a first top-level success on the Flat in the Goodwood Cup.

Hollie Doyle and Trueshan after winning the Goodwood Cup
Hollie Doyle and Trueshan after winning the Goodwood Cup (John Walton/PA)

The five-year-old would have carried a 3lb penalty for that success, but of more concern for King was the drying ground and with rain failing to materialise the decision was ultimately made to take him out.

Spanish Mission won the Yorkshire Cup in May before finishing third in the Gold Cup and missing Goodwood.

Spanish Mission winning this year's Yorkshire Cup
Spanish Mission winning this year’s Yorkshire Cup (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Andrew Balding is hoping the rain stays away ahead of his bid for glory in another Qipco British Champions Series contest.

“The weather forecast looks good for Spanish Mission if the rain holds off, and he’s in good form,” said the Kingsclere handler.

“Obviously Stradivarius and Trueshan are tough opponents, but Spanish Mission was good in the Yorkshire Cup and a bit of course form helps.

“This has been the intention for a while and hopefully he’ll run well.”

Mishriff embellishes glittering CV with emphatic York display

John Gosden hailed Mishriff’s versatility as the four-year-old provided him with a second Juddmonte International in four years on the Knavesmire.

In arguably the premier 10-furlong contest in Europe, Gosden’s Roaring Lion announced himself as the pre-eminent colt around at York when following up his 2018 Eclipse win, before cementing his status in the Irish Champion and then successfully reverting to a mile in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Ascot’s British Champions Day.

Mishriff did not have as much to prove. But there was one glaring omission on his CV – and that was a Group One on home soil.

Having won the French Derby last year, he had a Classic in the bag – and he then beat the best America had to offer in the Saudi Cup on dirt in February, adding to his overseas record by winning the Sheema Classic in Dubai.

The one box he had left to tick was a showpiece race in England, and defeats in the Eclipse and King George had the naysayers wagging fingers.

While ante-post favourite St Mark’s Basilica was missing, Aidan O’Brien could still field Love; there was Andrew Balding’s multiple Group One winner Alcohol Free stepping up in trip, and William Haggas had two live players in Mohaafeth and Alenquer – but none had an answer to the six-length winner.

“I’m delighted. It’s strange that because of lockdown last year he had this truncated season,” said joint trainer Gosden.

“He won at Newmarket in June, won the French Derby, won at Deauville and then got stuck in a bog at Ascot.

Mishriff and David Egan were impressive winners of the Juddmonte International Stakes at York
Mishriff and David Egan were impressive winners of the Juddmonte International Stakes at York (Nigel French/PA)

“So then we had a holiday and went back to a winter campaign, which was absolutely brilliant – winning in Saudi, where he beat the American dirt horses, and then the Sheema Classic, beating the Japanese mares in Dubai.

“He then had another break before we went for the Eclipse – and while he wasn’t short of work, he was just a bit fresh and heavy, which meant he blew up with a furlong to go, having cruised into contention.

“He ran a blinder last time in the King George. But the mile and a half of Ascot was too great a demand on his stamina up that hill – and it was a very good race. The Derby winner was getting 11lb.

“But he’s come here today, over a mile and a quarter on good ground – that’s his game. He’s versatile, but this is probably his best distance – and arguably perfect ground on the Knavesmire is right up his street.”

All the top races over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half worldwide are in the mix for Mishriff – but not the Irish Champion Stakes, which Gosden feels would hamper his preparation for autumn targets.

“I want to give him another break now, because there are races deep into the autumn if he’s in good order – namely the Arc or the Champion Stakes – ground dependent as I wouldn’t run him if it was deep,” said Gosden.

“Then you have Del Mar (Breeders’ Cup) over a mile and a half (Turf) and then there’s the Japan Cup – so we’ll be looking in those directions. I don’t want to just keep going; I want to freshen him up.

“The problem with the (Breeders’ Cup) Classic this year at Del Mar is the short straight. I know Del Mar well – it’s virtually the shortest straight in America for a Grade One track.

“If you notice with his racing style he kills them in a long straight – it was the stretch that won it for him in Saudi. He’d like a Belmont stretch, not a Del Mar stretch!”

David Egan gets his hands on the Juddmonte International trophy
David Egan gets his hands on the Juddmonte International trophy (Nigel French/PA)

For David Egan, who briefly lost the ride on Mishriff to Frankie Dettori despite being retained by owner Prince Faisal, this is the highlight of a career admittedly still in its early throes.

“To do what he has done is phenomenal. He’s a horse to be reckoned with now,” said Egan.

“This horse means everything to me. He’s going to make my career, hopefully.

“I’m just so thrilled for the horse to be able to do it on UK soil. He’s proved he can do it elsewhere. Some people had doubts he could do it here. I’ve won the lottery, literally.

“This is my best day at the race track. The money doesn’t matter – it’s all about the horse. Hopefully, there’s more to come.”