Stradivarius has reeled off 10 wins on the bounce to make a claim to be considered one of the great horses of the modern era. John Gosden’s charge has excelled on the track since the start of the 2018 campaign, winning every event he has competed in during the timespan.
Gosden will be desperate for his charge to bow out of the season on a high note with a victory at the British Champions Long Distance Cup. Stradivarius last tasted defeat in the event at the end of 2017, losing to Order of St George.
He atoned for his loss with a brilliant performance in the Long Distance Cup in the last campaign and will not attempt to join an elite company of competitors to win the race for a second time. Gosden’s charge is backed in the horse racing betting odds as the 1/2 favourite for the crown, and he has established himself far and above the rest of the field throughout the term.
It would be a huge surprise to see Stradivarius fail to win for the 11th time in a row. Kew Gardens and Dee Ex Bee will attempt to provide a challenge, but the Irish Thoroughbred has been dominant with Frankie Dettori at the reins.
He began his 2019 campaign at the Yorkshire Cup, and although he did not enjoy the best of starts to the race, the bay colt was still able to claim a comfortable win ahead of Southern France by powering away down the stretch. Next on the agenda as the defence of his Ascot Gold Cup title, and again with Dettori in the saddle, he timed his run to perfection to surge away from the rest of the field. Dee Ex Bee provided the competition, but Stradivarius claimed the win by a length.
The two horses would enjoy a fierce battle at Glorious Goodwood in the Goodwood Cup. On this occasion, Dee Ex Bee appeared to have got the better of Gosden’s charge. However, Stradivarius used the last of his pace down the final furlong to edge out his rival by a neck on the line.
The Lonsdale Cup provided an opportunity for revenge for Mark Johnston and his horse. The five-year-old was the favourite, despite the improvement of his rival last time out. Stradivarius made a statement with arguably his strongest performance of the campaign. He powered away from Dee Ex Bee to finish one-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of his opponent, earning yet another berth in the winners’ circle.
Gosden opted to place Stradivarius in the Doncaster Cup in September, and without the presence of his rival, the five-year-old was able to canter to an easy victory over the field after leading from the early stages of the race. The Long Distance Cup is on the agenda, although Gosden has claimed that he has concerns about soft ground ahead of the event.
It would be a surprise to see him withdraw Stradivarius from the race given his imperious form and record at Ascot. His future beyond that could be up for debate given the amount of time he has had on the track, although the lure of a third Ascot Gold Cup is tempting for owner Bjorn Nielsen. It would be fitting to see Stradivarius go for one last honour at the Long Distance Cup to enhance his legacy.