Gosden: Stradivarius as 'cheeky as ever' ahead of repeat Lonsdale bid

John Gosden has described Stradivarius as being 'as cheeky as ever' ahead of the five-year-old's date on the Knavesmire in the Lonsdale Cup on Friday week.

Stradivarius, photo Liesl King

Last year's Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million winner is in the driving seat to scoop the seven-figure sum for owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen again, having won at York, Ascot and Goodwood already this season.

Gosden said of his staying superstar: "He's as cheeky as ever! He's full of himself, a very happy horse. He's training up nicely for the race. Obviously, the Goodwood Cup was not that long ago, so we come into the Lonsdale just trying to keep the freshness in him.

“He probably had tougher races coming through last year – the Gold Cup last year was a formidable race, whereas they probably didn’t go as hard this year. Therefore, for him, it didn’t drain him so much.

“We're looking forward to the race. He did struggle in it last year – no doubt about that. It’s quite a lot of races, but they are spaced well and he has already been to York once this year for the Yorkshire Cup.”

Gosden boasts an impressive 29 per cent strike-rate at York in the past five years [25 winners from 87 runners], with only Ascot providing him with more prize-money in the same period, thanks largely to Enable's two King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes victories.

Speaking about the wondermare – who is priced at 1-5 to win the Darley Yorkshire Oaks for a second time – Gosden said: “She has had a nice easy time since the King George. She just did a breeze on her own with Frankie [Dettori] on Saturday – into a strong headwind, so they just did a nice quiet bit. She is out there enjoying herself, looking well and moving nicely.

“She’s a lovely filly and done extremely well this year. She really enjoys her training and her racing, which obviously makes the trainer’s job a lot easier. Everyone is interested in her when she is out on the Heath. So we're very lucky to have a filly like that."

Gosden added that Lah Ti Dar will likely line up alongside Enable as her owner-breeders, Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, have been keen on a tilt at the 1m4f Group 1 all year.

Gosden also revealed King Of Comedy, who was beaten a neck 
in the St James' Palace Stakes, will go for the £1 million Juddmonte International with the step up to 1m2½f likely to suit

He said: "We feel that is his trip. Since Royal Ascot this has been the plan.”