Stradivarius will tune up for Ascot

CONNECTIONS of Stradivarius hope he can establish himself as a staying great and join an elite list of multiple winners of the Ascot Gold Cup.

Frankie Dettori celebrates the win of Stradivarius on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.

The John Gosden-trained four-year-old signed off his hugely successful campaign when registering a fifth straight victory this season in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot last Saturday.

Previously, the son of Sea The Stars had claimed the WH Stayers’ £1m bonus with his victories in the Yorkshire Cup, the Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup at York’s Ebor meeting.

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His owner, Bjorn Nielsen, said: “He is just an incredible horse. To own a horse like that only comes around once in a lifetime.

“It was tough on Saturday for him, because the conditions were not in his favour in terms of the ground and tactics of the race.

“Frankie Dettori gave him a great ride and forced him through the gap – and the rest is history.”

Nielsen has time to reflect on Stradivarius’s brilliant, unbeaten season – and plan next year, too.

“It has been an incredible season, winning five out of five races,” he said.

“He will start off next season in either the Sagaro at Ascot or the Yorkshire Cup – and see how we go – but the Ascot Gold Cup will be the main aim again.”

Gosden has reiterated that no decision will be taken on Enable’s future until after next week’s Breeders’ Cup Turf in America.

The dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner has had a truncated season following a setback in the Spring – and unlike the list of previous Arc winners to have been beaten at the Breeders’ Cup, she will be going as a fresh horse.

“It’s exciting to have Enable going there. She seems in good order for the Turf,” said the champion trainer.

“She was a little quiet for a bit after the Arc – but you don’t normally win that race 85 per cent fit. I think I’ve got her fit now.”

Magna Grecia will spearhead a three-pronged attack by Aidan O’Brien in tomorrow’s Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, the final Group One race of the 2018 Flat season.

The Ballydoyle handler has an excellent record in the one-mile contest – with eight wins to his name, including Saxon Warrior last year – but he is still behind Sir Henry Cecil’s 10 victories on the roll of honour.

O’Brien has sent the likes of High Chaparral, St Nicholas Abbey and Camelot to Town Moor for a race that has a distinguished history.

Magna Grecia, second to Andre Fabre’s Persian King in the Autumn Stakes, will be joined by Circus Maximus and Western Australia.

Magna Grecia was supplemented earlier in the week, along with Ralph Beckett’s Stormwave – winner of his only start to date.

John Gosden saw Roaring Lion beaten in this last year and sends two – Kick On, in the same Qatar Racing colours, and Turgenev who was very impressive in winning his last two.

Phoenix Of Spain runs for Charlie Hills, having lost out to the superlative Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on St Leger day, while Raakib Alhawa will aim to follow up his Newbury debut win. Dashing Willoughby, Great Scott, King Ottokar and Kuwait Currency complete the 11-strong field.

Sue Smith’s horses are coming into form for the National Hunt season and Sharp Response, running in the same colours as the now retired Cloudy Too, was a wide margin chase winner at Carlisle yesterday under jockey Danny Cook.