Stradivarius bidding to emulate Yeats by winning a fourth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot
He boasts an honours list that is already bulging at the seams, but the great Stradivarius will have the opportunity to write his name into the record books yet again later today.
John and Thady Gosden’s superstar stayer has seven Group 1 victories to his name – four Goodwood Cups and a trio of Ascot Gold Cups.
And if the son of Sea The Stars can make it a quartet of wins in the latter at the Royal meeting this afternoon (4.15pm), he will draw level with the legendary Yeats as one of only two horses to have achieved that feat.
It would take a brave person to bet against the seven-year-old, with Gosden senior reporting that his 13-time QIPCO British Champions Series race winner remains as eager as ever.
“It will be extraordinary if he can win at Royal Ascot for a fifth time (he also won the Queen’s Vase in 2017), especially as he’s a full horse, but he seems to love his training still, and he seems to like his racing too,” said Clarehaven Stables’ John Gosden.
“He can be very naughty beforehand and think that he’s in the covering shed, but when he gets down to the start he just stands there and looks about and says ‘okay, I’ve got a job to do, let’s go’.
“He’s also won four Goodwood Cups, he’s won Lonsdale Cups and he’s won Doncaster Cups. He also twice knocked off the Weatherbys Hamilton £1m bonus, which nobody thought any horse could achieve, and, touch wood, we are ready to go again.
“He’s been remarkable and he has this exciting turn of foot. His toughest race was his first Gold Cup, against the great French stayer Vazirabad, but overall I think his record stands up.
“He’s come back well this year and his win in the Sagaro was tidy. He wasn’t asked too much and let’s hope he’s ready for the big one.”
The bookmakers certainly see only one winner, with Stradivarius widely priced as the odds-on 4/5 favourite.
However, experienced trainer Mark Johnston believes his second favourite, Subjectivist, is primed to put up a big fight.
Johnston said: “We were second to Stradivarius in the Gold Cup with both Dee Ex Bee and Nayef Road, and one had been second in the Derby and the other third in the St Leger, so you couldn’t say that Subjectivist is necessarily a higher-grade horse. It’s more the manner of his victory in Dubai, and the fact that he’d won a Group 1 in France.
“His last two runs have been the best of his life and he looks to be both tremendously progressive and so much better at two miles than at shorter trips.
“That’s why we hold out so much hope that Subjectivist might be the biggest threat to Stradivarius in the last couple of years.
“He’s obviously not been beyond two miles, but we are pretty confident he’ll stay.”