ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – After piloting home a trio of longer shots in the first three races, Frankie Dettori’s luck continued aboard his most anticipated mount of the day when the favored Stradivarius overcame traffic troubles to kick away much the best in Thursday’s Gold Cup (G1) on Day 3 of the Royal Ascot meet.
Breaking from post 4 under Dettori as the 3/5 stateside bettors’ choice, the defending champion Stradivarius was well-placed along the inside just behind early leader Dee Ex Bee. For the opening 2 miles of the marathon event, the field cantered along pleasantly enough, but midway through the final turn, Thomas Hobson snuck inside of Stradivarius while Capri raced to his outside, boxing him in behind Dee Ex Bee and Master Of Reality up front.
As the field straightened for the run home, Stradivarius was still sandwiched in a pocket. It wasn’t until he hit the 2-furlong marker that a hole appeared between Master Of Reality and Capri. Stradivarius fought his way through and emerged with the lead at the final furlong pole. Continuing to kick strongly with every stride, Stradivarius crossed with a length advantage in a final time of 4:30.88 for the 20-furlong event.
“Stradivarius is an amazing horse,” Dettori said. “He is now unbeaten in his last seven starts. He has won two Ascot Gold Cups – his heart is bigger than his body. Stradivarius does not know how to lose. All I have to do is get him amongst other horses and he does the rest – what a horse. For a stayer, this lad has everything. He loves getting into a fight and he is a brilliant horse to ride.”
Dee Ex Bee stayed on well to hold second by a nose over Master Of Reality, with Cross Counter rallying late to take fourth. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Flag Of Honour, Capri, Raymond Tusk, Called To The Bar, Magic Circle, Thomas Hobson, and Cypress Creek.
Stradivarius’ win was his third in as many tries at Royal Ascot meets, having won the 2017 Queen’s Vase (G2) before taking last year’s Gold Cup. The 5-year-old son of Sea The Stars improved his career record to 16-11-1-2, including a 5-4-0-1 local mark, for owner/breeder Bjorn Nielsen.
“Stradivarius was held in by Capri, and then he saw the light and Frankie managed to wriggle through,” Gosden said. “It was noted in commentary that he was in a rather tricky position, but he did the clever thing because he … decided to save ground all the way and wait for a gap. It was a long wait, but the horse is very classy.”
Stradivarius returned $3.60 to win and $2.40 to place, Dee Ex Bee brought back $3.20 to place, and Master Of Reality paid $42.60 to place.