Stradivarius pulled off a dramatic piece of racing history to win his fourth successive Goodwood Cup – and is now set to be trained for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
John Gosden’s brilliant stayer faced a major challenge on paper from the Royal Ascot and Irish Derby winner Santiago – a three-year-old carrying 6.8kg less than the favourite.
Frankie Dettori and the three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner had plenty on their plate in the two-mile showpiece, forced into fifth on the inside of the field as several rivals came from off the pace which was set by Nayef Road and Santiago.
They managed to extricate themselves just in time, however, and Stradivarius produced a trademark change of gear to move past both big rivals in some style.
Nayef Road again had to settle for the runner-up spot, as at Ascot earlier this month, but this time was seen off by just a length – with another 1-1/4 lengths back to Santiago.
The Bjorn Nielsen-owned six-year-old is now on a collision course with equally-illustrious stablemate Enable in the Arc at Longchamp in October.
“He will be going to the Prix Foy, so we will freshen him up now until the middle of September. He will go to the Prix Foy and if he runs a good race there, he will be going to the Arc,” Gosden said.
“We hope to get them both there, but you know this game, there are banana skins around corners.
“He (Frankie) will sit down and work out what he’s doing – I won’t tell him, put it that way.”
Reflecting on the victory, Gosden added: “It looked like he was boxed in – which maybe he was – but the key thing when you’re tracking a horse like Santiago … what you must not do is attack two and a half to three furlongs down and turn it into a real slog.
“Nayef Road ran a blinder again right beside us, and I think it was right to wait. When he hits the front now he thinks that’s it.
“It was a great performance under that weight.”
Asked if Stradivarius could potentially stay in training next year, Gosden said: “If he goes to stud, he goes to stud. If he doesn’t got to stud, I know Mr Nielsen is looking at one race next year (Gold Cup at Royal Ascot).
“You could run a mile and a half and then go to two and a half, as he is versatile.”