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Gold Cup Result 2018: Stradivarius calls the tune
Posted in: Royal Ascot News
Four horses held a big chance with two furlongs to run, however it was the Frankie Detorri-ridden and John Gosden-trained Stradivarius who battled on best of all to win by three quarters of a length.
Vaziribad (9/2) was second, with Torcedor (14/1) a head back in third.
The 2016 winner Order of St George was never travelling and in the end finished fourth.
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Gosden said: "It was an extraordinary race. Frankie said they didn't go that quick, and his heels were definitely down early on, which meant the horse was taking him on.
"Frankie got himself out of a pocket, which was essential with the pacemaker coming back, and got himself in the perfect position. But as usual, Mr Soumillon was waiting like all good Frenchman to pounce late and frustrate us.
"What an exciting finish that was - and look at the line-up as they headed to the line. That's a pretty smart front four.
"It was a fascinating tactical race, because if Frankie had gone too soon there was the danger that Vazirabad would nail him - if he had committed to kill off a rival at the furlong pole the French could have come along to collect the prize so he had to be careful of that."
Stradivarius had not run over today's stamina-testing trip of two and a half miles, but fears about his stamina for the Gold Cup began to evaporate inside the final furlong as he ran to the line tenaciously.
Gosden said: "He did see it out and he was going away at the finish. He's a proper little staying horse that we call Mighty Mouse because he's not very big - he looks a bit like a mini Trigger with his four white feet, but he is a gorgeous horse. He's done it really, really well, and loves this ground as he can flick off it and quicken well.
"It's lovely to win the Gold Cup - I've had horses placed in it a few times."
Stradivarius is a son of the great racehorse Sea The Stars, and Gosden said: "Mr Nielsen has bred horses for years, but it's interesting, you try to breed a Derby winner and end up with a Gold Cup winner."
Stradivarius is now on track to land the W H Stayers' Million, a £1m bonus designed to encourage breeders and owners to produce and/or buy staying horses. He won one of four designated prep races in May and now needs to win the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup and York's Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Stakes to land the prize.
Gosden said: "He will go back to Goodwood next - he won the race last year - and then try for the Lonsdale Stakes. I've heard the bonus is well insured . . . "
Frankie Dettori's thrilling Gold Cup victory on the John Gosden-trained Stradivarius was the jockey's 60th Royal Ascot win, his sixth in the prestigious Group One race and his fourth of the 2018 meeting.
The Queen presented Dettori with a saddle cloth celebrating his 60 Royal Meeting winners after presenting the Stradivarius' owner Bjorn Nielsen with the Gold Cup.
Stradivarius, a four-year-old son of Sea The Stars, won the G2 Queen's Vase at the 2017 Royal Meeting. He was sent off the 7/4 joint-favourite with 2016 winner Order Of St George and beat Vazirabad (Christophe Soumillon) by three-quarters of a length.
Dettori said: "Stradivarius was a lion. He fought everything off; Order Of St George, Vazirabad. I wanted to time it right and at the end he took off.
"The Gold Cup is the highlight of the week and to win it again is amazing, especially as it's my first one for John Gosden and team, who have been fabulous behind the scenes.
"Obviously, I wanted to park myself behind Order Of St George. Ryan [Moore, Order Of St George's jockey] was in trouble four furlongs out but I thought, 'well, that can be deceiving and if I attack him now he could batter me back out of it', so I waited until the straight, I waited past the two-furlong pole and thought, 'right, now I can get him'. As I got rid of him, I saw the grey head [of Vazirabad] and I thought, 'oh shit'. And then he managed to get within a neck and once he couldn't get past me, I knew my horse was very brave. And that was it, I knew I had won the Gold Cup then.
"The crowd were behind it - It was mental really. I was loving it. To get the three best horses in the final furlong battling it out, you can't ask for more than that. Full credit to the horse, he was brave as a lion. And well done to John [Gosden] - his first Gold Cup. And my 60th [Royal Ascot winner]! And I'm only 47."
He added: "I still haven't got over yesterday [defeat on Cracksman in the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes]; I'm still scratching my head. We know he underperformed, but let's enjoy this moment here. It's brilliant for the owner, and the Gosden team are really on fire. It was thrilling - to win a Gold Cup in that manner, it was thrilling. Sometimes a race looks a great match on paper but this turned out to be a great renewal."
French handler de Royer-Dupre said: "When Vazirabad got to the front, he stopped. He doesn't like to be in front too long.
"He was touched two or three times by the winner and after that, he refused to give the maximum. He can have a long career as he only does the minimum.
"Christophe rode him well and he couldn't have waited any longer. I'm very pleased with the run.
"I know sometimes that he doesn't like to fight too long when in front and today Vazirabad got to the front and stopped.
"We might look at something like the Goodwood Cup and the G1s in France at the end of the season - he is a nice horse."
Soumillon remarked: "It was not his day today. Frankie was clever and brought his horse close to Vazirabad.
"I went to the front by a head, but he just stops when he gets to the front - it's a bit frustrating."
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