Dettori gets another winning tune out of Stradivarius

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes on Stradivarius.Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes on Stradivarius.
Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes on Stradivarius.
Stradivarius strengthened his grip on the staying division with a third successive victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

John Gosden’s star stayer enjoyed a faultless campaign in 2018 – winning the Yorkshire Cup, the Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup to land a huge bonus through the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million.

For good measure, the five-year-old added the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup back at Ascot in October to his seasonal haul, and has continued in the same vein this term – with successful defences of the Yorkshire Cup and the Gold Cup setting up his Goodwood hat-trick bid.

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The Bjorn Nielsen-owned chestnut was a warm order to emulate the hugely popular Double Trigger by becoming a three-time winner, and the 4-5 favourite ultimately did so with the minimum of fuss.

Frankie Dettori was happy to play a waiting game as the Tim Easterby-trained Wells Farhh Go set a strong pace and quickly opened up a huge lead. He began to falter, however, and it was left for the big guns to fight it out.

Gold Cup runner-up Dee Ex Bee did his best to draw the finish out of Stradivarius, while Melbourne Cup hero and Gold Cup fourth Cross Counter travelled into the race smoothly.

But neither could live with the trademark finishing kick of Stradivarius and he was good value for the winning margin of a neck over Dee Ex Bee, with Dettori celebrating before passing the post.

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Gosden said: “He is a gorgeous horse. Wells Farhh Go is smart and I know he went too hard, but it is a dangerous thing to give someone 25 lengths around here and he is a good horse.

“He was wide early in a muddle, then he got where he wanted and followed Cross Counter and he is a proper horse as he and Dee Ex Bee are good older horses.

“It is still good ground as the rain has come, but it has blasted through and it has not sat over us.

“He probably would have won in good to soft, but that is not his favourite.

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“He can quicken and horses that can quicken want top of the ground. It is the great weapon they have, and if you take that away it blunts them.

“I was not comfortable early in the race – from halfway through the race I was comfortable, as I knew he was tracking a proper horse in Cross Counter and with Dee Ex Bee in his sights I knew Frankie had them in his line.

“He came and won his race and then our great hero (Dettori) started waving at the crowd.

“I must say that’s a little dangerous as the horse is a pro and when Frankie said that’s enough he said, ‘OK, I’ll put the brakes on’.

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“It was lucky Frankie didn’t go over the handlebars, I thought.’’

Dettori followed up the victory by winning the next race, the six furlong EBF Maiden Stakes, on 15-8 favourite Cobra Eye, for Malton handler John Quinn.

Sir Dancealot successfully defended his crown in the Qatar Lennox Stakes.

David Elsworth’s charge is something of a seven-furlong specialist, with six of his eight previous wins coming over this distance – including three Group-race successes last season.

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So far this year the five-year-old had finished respectable seventh in the Lockinge before placing fourth in a Listed event at York, but he showed his true colours back on the Sussex Downs.

The opening race, the Unibet Handicap, went to Fayez, a 25-1 shot trained at Upper Helmsley by David O’Meara and ridden by Danny Tudhope. Leyburn-based jockey PJ McDonald won the final two races of the day on Green Power (16-1) and Maid for Life (12-1) for a 220-1 double.

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