Remembering five of Stradivarius’ best wins
62 lengths. That’s the distance that separated Stradivarius from winner Trushan in the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day at Ascot last weekend. The six-year-old, who went into the race as the heavy favourite, finished a disappointing 12th out of a field of 13 horses – unable to regain his crown, having won the high-profile race in 2018. Stradivarius was reappearing less than two weeks after he featured in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where he came up short, and both jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer John Gosden were quick to blame the soft ground for the performance. It’s now three races without a win for Stradivarius, who was previously in remarkable form – so let’s look back at that unbeaten record as we count down Stradivarius’ greatest results.
- Goodwood Cup (2020)
Stradivarius’ most recent victory came in the Goodwood Cup, part of the British Champions Series, at the end of July. In winning, Stradivarius became the most successful horse in the history of the race. Having been victorious in every edition since 2017, this particular win stands out. It was another battle between the favourite and Nayef Road and once again, Stradivarius came out on top. Again, the horse was sat in midfield, before pushing on to track the leaders. Dettori remained calm and while it looked as though the horse was boxed in with the final furlong approaching, Stradivarius went clear of his rival, winning by a length.
- Ascot Gold Cup (2020)
Much has been made of Stradivarius’ dislike of soft ground, but the latest horse racing odds would suggest otherwise, and similarly, back in June, he was the favourite for the Gold Cup. With regular jockey Dettori in the saddle, it marked a hat-trick of wins in the Ascot showpiece for Stradivarius, who had also won the last two editions. Despite soft ground, Stradivarius came from the middle of the field to finish with a confident flourish – leading with just over a furlong to go, the horse made it look easy and finished a dominant 10 lengths ahead of nearest challenger, Nayef Road.
- Goodwood Cup (2019)
2019 marked the end of Stradivarius’ 10-race unbeaten run, but one of his finest performances came in the Goodwood Cup. That season, the horse had sparked somewhat of a rivalry with Dee Ex Bee – the two had been separated by a length in the Gold Cup the previous month and went on to contest the Lonsdale Cup at York, the following month. But at Glorious Goodwood, Stradivarius claimed a third successive victory in the race, with Dettori once again in the saddle – and in turn, became only the second horse to win the two-miler a hat-trick of times. As is often the case, the horse was placed in the middle of the pack during the first mile, but in the final few furlongs, it came to life. Both Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counters were leading, but Dettori mounted a charge and overtook the pair with less than a furlong to go. Despite being in command, Stradivarius won by a neck.
- Long Distance Cup (2018)
Ascot has proved a happy hunting ground for Stradivarius over the years, and after a securing his maiden victory at the prestigious racecourse in 2017, he followed up with a Group 1 race win in 2018, adding to his success in the Gold Cup. At evens, he was the favourite in the British Champions race, and the win capped a remarkable season. The undisputed stayers king made hard work of it, with Flag of Honour setting the pace. And after seeing the leader off, Dettori left Thomas Hobson and jockey Oisin Murphy short of room along the rail – an infringement that saw the Italian slapped with a three-day ban – but it was enough to see Gosden’s horse cross the line a length-and-a-half ahead of his rival.
- Ascot Gold Cup (2018)
The 2018 Gold Cup was a landmark victory for Dettori, who claimed his 60th winner at Ascot – and sixth in the Gold Cup. It was a classic performance from the Italian jockey, who signed off his victory with that trademark flying dismount celebration – much to the jubilation of the 70,000+ crowd. Stradivarius was the joint-favourite heading into the race, and the equally-fancied Order of St George could only finish fourth. It was the kind of race that we’ve come to expect from the Gosden-trained horse – a slow start, before picking up momentum and culminating in a thrilling finale, and victory. Going into the final straight, Stradivarius edged right and stayed on to secure victory by three-quarters of a length over Vazirabad. Post-race it was revealed that Stradivarius had a lame right-hind leg and lost his shoe.