Goodwood Festival News

Stradivarius in fine form ahead of Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup

Wed 21 Jul 2021

Trainer John Gosden feels Stradivarius is returning to Goodwood next week in top shape despite the star stayer falling short in his bid for a fourth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last month.

The seven-year-old is the odds-on favourite for the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup given the absence of his Gold Cup conqueror Subjectivist, who is likely to be out of action for the rest of the year at least.

 Stradivarius at home ahead of his bid for a fifth Goodwood Cup (Credit: Goodwood racecourse)
Stradivarius at home ahead of his bid for a fifth Goodwood Cup (Credit: Goodwood racecourse)

Stradivarius has already won the staying prize at Goodwood four times - more than any other horse - but Gosden would have loved to have taken on Subjectivist again in an anticipated rematch.

“He’s been in good order since Royal Ascot. The Gold Cup was a fascinating race and Subjectivist put in a superb performance,” he said.

“I’d love to have got in a race with the winner, but we never had the opportunity to get there and that’s life.

“I think Frankie (Dettori), having ridden him so brilliantly in previous Gold Cups, seemed to have a brainstorm and sit 12 lengths of the pace!

“I’m sorry that Subjectivist is not able to run next week, it’s heartbreaking for everyone involved and it would have been great to have enjoyed a ‘Duel on the Downs’.”

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While Stradivarius has never been defeated at Goodwood, Gosden is still mindful of the opposition and the need for luck in running.

"He’s won four Goodwood Cups in a row which takes some doing, and he didn’t have much of a race at Ascot so that race didn’t seem to knock him back too far physically," said the trainer.

"It’s going to be a fascinating race with some very nice horses turning up and you’re always going to need some luck in running around Goodwood given it’s not exactly a big, open galloping track. It’s quintessentially different, rolling in and out, left, right and has cambers. It should make for an exciting day on Tuesday.”

Having lost one stable star to retirement in Enable last season, Gosden is thankful to owner Bjorn Nielsen for keeping Stradivarius in training as long as he has.

"He’s been a pleasure and a lot of fun to train through the years," said Gosden. "But as a seven-year-old full horse, he probably knows a great deal more about the game than I do!

John Gosden shares the latest on his staying star from Clarehaven Stables

“He’s very much part of family here – we had Enable with us until she was a six-year-old and him until he is seven. It doesn’t normally happen with full horses like him.

Everyone enjoys his company, and he checks everything in and out from his box and he knows Clarehaven inside and out. He enjoys going out on the Heath and shouting at the other strings!”

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