Frankie Dettori eyes yet more Ascot Gold Cup glory on Stradivarius

FRANKIE Dettori believes history beckons for champion stayer Stradivarius after a pleasing comeback win in the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.

Stradivarius ridden by Frankie Dettori on their way to winning the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.

The win leaves Bjorn Nielsen’s horse on track to win a fourth Ascot Gold Cup at the Royal meeting in June and a chance to equal the record of the all-conquering Yeats.

Now a seven-year-old, all the indications are that Stradivarius will come on for this run – and the extended Gold Cup test of two and a half miles.

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“These horses are what you get up for,” enthused 50-year-old Dettori after this two-mile trip proved to be no obstacle to the star stayer who is one of the Flat’s most popular horses.

Jockey Frankie Dettori after winning the Longines Sagaro Stakes on Stradivarius at Ascot.

“He’s been in great form at home and he has the same old enthusiasm he has always had. I wanted to be close and didn’t want them to get away from me, but he has got a turn of foot and when I asked him to quicken, he got there too soon. He is an incredible horse.

“Bjorn was a little worried that he may not have the enthusiasm, but he has always had that and he’s shown me no signs that he has lost that. John has been very happy with him all winter and he has the ability to win over shorter trips than the Gold Cup.

“Yeats won four Gold Cup and people said that would never be done again, but for us, the dream is still alive!”

With half a mile to run Dettori had been shuffled to the back of the six-runner field, which meant he had to go from the inside rail to right around the pack just after the turn into the straight.

As Stag Horn dropped away John and Thady Gosden could watch on contently as Dettori was still going sweetly with over a furlong to run on the odds-on favourite.
His customary turn of foot was in evidence as he went two lengths clear and while he did begin to tire as Ocean Wind and Nayef Road closed in, Dettori did not need to get serious.

As the chestnut had been well beaten in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and on Champions Day in his final two outings of 2020, the Gosdens will have been pleased with what they witnessed on the Berkshire turf.

Gosden senior said: “He (Nielsen) is incredibly sporting. To have a horse like this who has won three Gold Cups and four Goodwood Cups and a number of other races has been a dream come true.”

All roads now point towards the Gold Cup, without another run, according to Gosden. He said: “He’s fine. He’s got the speed, but obviously he likes the Gold Cup distance, and I think we’ll come straight back here for the Gold Cup – I don’t see the point in running him anywhere else in between.

“His best surface is good ground like most horses. The summer soft, which we had last year, he can deal with. But when you get autumn, bottomless ground, no – that is not his scene. He has too good an action for that.”

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