Will Stradivarius bow out on a high note at Ascot?
Stradivarius etched his place in history with a brilliant performance to win the third Lonsdale Cup of his career at the Ebor Festival. As a result, John and Thady Gosden’s charge will go down as one of the all-time greats. However, this being said, there’s no denying that Stradivarius is sadly nearing the end of his career as a distance racing elite. He rolled back the years to defeat Spanish Mission on the line at York Racecourse, but he faces a challenge to potentially bow out on a high note in his final race of the term at the Ascot in the Long Distance Cup.
Undoubtedly, Stradivarius is one of the top contenders for the crown. Yet if you take a look back at the horse racing results calendar view online, courtesy of the innovative Beth prediction tool, you’ll realise that he’s not been on form throughout the campaign, and especially so in his last appearance at the Ascot for Champions Day. The online system has compiled a comprehensive precis of all performances over recent months, accompanied by commentary from industry experts. Based on the prognosis from his most recent outings, it’s evident that the Irish thoroughbred will definitely be out for redemption at the Ascot.
Stradivarius was one of the top runners in the field and was anticipated to challenge for the crown that he’s both previously won in 2018 and narrowly lost in 2019 to Kew Gardens when he was beaten by a fraction of a nose. Nonetheless, the 2020 contest couldn’t have been any different as Stradivarius was off the pace from the start of the race and finished down in 12th out of 13 competitors, a sad state of affairs from one of the greats of modern horse racing. There were questions as to whether he would return for the 2021 campaign after his humbling performance at the Ascot.
Some doubts were put to bed at the Ascot when he won the Sagaro Stakes in April. With Frankie Dettori in the saddle, Stradivarius made the perfect start to the season with a strong run to beat out Ocean Wind by a length. However, he failed to sustain his form at the Ascot Gold Cup and there were murmurings that Dettori may have made a couple of mistakes in his approach with Stradivarius on the day. For whatever reason, Stradivarius lacked the pace when it mattered the most to close in on Subjectivist, who won the Gold Cup in a comfortable fashion ahead of Princess Zoe. John and Thady Gosden’s charge placed fourth, an underwhelming outing for a horse as talented as Stradivarius.
There was an element of pressure on all parties at the Ebor Festival, especially when the Lonsdale Cup favourite Trueshan withdrew from the contest. Although it wasn’t a perfect run from Dettori and Stradivarius, the horse displayed the clinical edge of a great champion to beat out Spanish Mission on the line to take the crown.
Now John and Thady Gosden need to consider whether he has one last great effort left in him at the Long Distance Cup. They may even opt just to put the horse out on the course at Ascot for a last hurrah, even if he doesn’t win the race. Trueshan is scheduled to return for the meet and will provide a tough contest, given his victory in 2020. However, it would be fitting for Stradivarius to bow out on the highest of notes, if it’s indeed his swansong.
Feature image: for illustration only.