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ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Bjorn Nielsen homebred Stradivarius stamped himself firmly as the world’s best stayer on Thursday as he put on a dominating performance to win his third straight Ascot Gold Cup (G1) on Day 3 of the 2020 Royal Ascot Meet.
Sent off as the 1/2 stateside favorite under Frankie Dettori, Stradivarius settled into a close fifth while Nayef Road led Moonlight Spirit through much of the early going. The field of eight remained relatively compact as they navigated the marathon 2 1/2-mile event over a soft going.
Beginning to move forward with 6 furlongs remaining, Stradivarius got the green light from Dettori as he swung around the corner. Remarkably still well in hand under a very confident rider, Stradivarius blew past an all-out Nayef Road near the 2-furlong marker as if he was standing still, then kept cruising all the way home while never asked to run.
Putting forth perhaps the best effort of his star-studded career, the John Gosden-tarined Stradivarius crossed 10 lengths the best in a final time of 4:32.60.
“It’s a wonderful feeling and I’m very proud of the horse,” Dettori said. “I’ve ridden some really great horses and he is one of them.”
Nayef Road stayed on for second, 8 lengths better than Cross Counter. Behind them came Withhold, Mekong, Prince Of Arran, Technician, and Moonlight Spirit to complete the order of finish.
WOW 👀A virtuoso performance from Stradivarius as he becomes only the third horse in history to win a hat-trick of Gold Cups!#RoyalAscot pic.twitter.com/ytlfPfWp9c— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 18, 2020
WOW 👀A virtuoso performance from Stradivarius as he becomes only the third horse in history to win a hat-trick of Gold Cups!#RoyalAscot pic.twitter.com/ytlfPfWp9c
Stradivarius became the third horse ever to win three straight Gold Cups, having also clinched the 2018 and 2019 editions over much firmer and faster ground. The 6-year-old intact son of Sea The Stars improved his overall record to 22-15-2-3.
“He’s a real character,” Dettori said. “He wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s great to be around.”
Stradivarius brought back $3 to win and $2.40 to place, Nayef Road brought back $5 to place, and Cross Counter paid $4.20 to place.
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