Stradivarius ready to defend Goodwood Cup crown

John Gosden is confident Stradivarius is at the top of his game ahead of his defence of the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

The son of Sea The Stars was a decisive winner of the Group One contest 12 months ago and returns with an unblemished record so far this season following victories in the Yorkshire Cup and Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Stradivarius is on course to complete the WH Stayers’ Million, a bonus of #1million offered by Weatherbys Hamilton which will be awarded to the horse who wins one of four prep races in May followed by the Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup at York next month.

Gosden said: “He won it last year on the first day and has done nothing but please us since he won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

“Going into these Cup races takes a lot out of horses, but he has had a nice gap between Ascot and Goodwood and I think that will help him in every way.”

With his regular partner Frankie Dettori sidelined by suspension, Andrea Atzeni will get back on board Stradivarius for the first time since steering him to success in last year’s renewal.

Atzeni is two from two on the four-year-old, with the partnership also landing last season’s Queen’s Vase at the Royal meeting, and the Italian is excited to renew the association in the latest leg of the Qipco British Champions Series.

Atzeni said: “Most of the main stables have got their own jockeys and great spares like this are extremely hard to come by. It’s exciting to get the call and hopefully I’ll repay the faith.”

The jockey feels Stradivarius returns to Goodwood an even better horse than a year ago, adding: “He was young, still quite narrow and a little bit weak this time last year.

“When I saw him in the paddock at York in May I hardly recognised him. He was a lot stronger and was much more the finished article – a completely different horse.

“He was very good that day and then very brave when winning the Gold Cup at Ascot. He’s the best stayer around and I’m delighted to be back on him.”

Stradivarius renews rivalry with Jessica Harrington’s Irish challenger Torcedor, who was beaten just a length into third place in the Gold Cup.

Torcedor’s jockey Colm O’Donoghue is looking forward to the rematch.

He said: “Our horse seems in great form. He came out of Ascot well and his last piece of work before going over was very good.

“I think the track will suit, he and Stradivarius are racing off level weights and there was only a length between them at Royal Ascot.

“I think it will be a good fight between the two of them again.”

The William Haggas-trained Call To Mind was last seen carrying the colours of the Queen to victory in the Belmont Gold Cup in New York last month.

John Warren, the Queen’s racing manager, said: “Call To Mind has come out of the Belmont race very well and goes to Goodwood in great form.

“We have no particular ground fears and he won on firm ground at Belmont last time.

“We are hopeful of a good run as he is now really coming of age. He has matured into a fine horse.”

Haggas also saddles outsider Dal Harraild, while Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho, the David Elsworth-trained Desert Skyline and St Michel from Sir Mark Prescott’s yard complete the line-up.

Source.