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Another memorable Yorkshire Cup for Stradivarius

Friday: Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup, York

If ever there was a needless announcement it was the judge's request on the public address to "please show your appreciation for Stradivarius". 

As if anyone at York did not know they were in the presence of greatness. You could tell that by the neck-craning as he paraded back up the track, the cheers on his return to the winner's enclosure and the applause as he did a lap of honour of the parade ring.

All thoroughly deserved for an astonishing stayer who had just won his 18th Group race, more than any other horse trained in Europe, and made it a perfect six from six on a track where his third Yorkshire Cup triumph took him past the legendary Ardross.

Just as deserving of acclaim were trainers John and Thady Gosden: this is an eight-year-old entire with the physical and mental baggage of a tough, if hugely successful, career, yet there was no evidence of any loss of appetite for the game in the way he launched his final season here.

There was not a second's hesitation when Frankie Dettori asked him for an effort in the straight. Rather, he showed yet again the trademark turn of speed that has made him so hard to beat in all the top staying contests and was always holding Thunderous.

However, stud rather than racing duties do beckon, and John Gosden admitted afterwards in the parade ring: "He was a bundle of fun to saddle in the stables, on his hind legs. Every time he saw a filly he started showing off. But he came over here and he was as professional as ever.

"It's great to win six from six on the Knavesmire and be the leading Group-winning horse of all-time in Europe. That takes some doing – if he was a gelding it would be a bit easier."

Next up is a bid to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for a record-equalling fourth time, and Gosden said: "This is his best surface, the fast side of good. That's when he can show that electric turn of foot. Let's hope we can get to Ascot and the ground's not too deep. If he had this ground he'd take a lot of beating."

After winning on Stradivarius for the 15th time, Dettori was quick to credit the trainers, and said: "They changed different things to get him interested and get him motivated. He looked the same as he usually does – he travelled with zest, showed a good turn of foot then he pulled up in front."

Relief was the main emotion for owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen, who admitted of his remarkably long-lasting star: "The trouble with him is that he's spoiled me.

"Going racing is going to be pretty much of a disappointment forever now. You can never top that. You'll never find one like that, there's just no way."

The plan is for Stradivarius to sign off in the Goodwood Cup in July, although the runner-up may well be back to try to spoil the celebrations.

Joint-trainer Charlie Johnston felt that Thunderous was caught out by the winner's dash to the front on the inside over a furlong out, and said: "We were marooned and left wider on the track from the field on our own. We were coming back again and got into a terrific battle.

"I've felt for a really long time that the Goodwood Cup is a race tailor-made for him. He stays really well and we will be aiming for that."

Stradivarius was winning the Yorkshire Cup for the third time having also claimed major victories in the Goodwood Cup (three times), Doncaster Cup (twice), Lonsdale Cup (three times) and the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot (three times).

 

 

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