Stradivarius wins Ascot Gold Cup under Frankie Dettori


Frankie Dettori was over-joyed to win his sixth Gold Cup at Royal Ascot

Stradivarius secured victory in a thrilling renewal of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, the four-year-old was a 7-4 joint-favourite as he stepped up to two and a half miles for the first time in his career.

Torcedor led the field into the home straight ahead of Stradivarius, French challenger Vazirabad and 2016 Gold Cup hero Order Of St George, the other 7-4 joint-favourite, and it was Stradivarius who came home best.

Stradivarius was bidding for his second Royal Ascot success, having won the Queen’s Vase at last year’s meeting.

“What a brave horse! He is a lion,” said Dettori.

“My horse just stuck his head out and it is wonderful to give John (Gosden) his first win in the race. After yesterday this is the ideal consolation.”

The four-year-old was beaten a length into third place by Order Of St George in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot last October, but a winning return in last month’s Yorkshire Cup suggested he could be an improved performer this season.

With Order Of St George under a pressure a long way from home on this occasion and eventually finishing fourth, Stradivarius travelled strongly for much of the way and saw out the extra distance well to score by three-quarters of a length.

Vazirabad just beat Torcedor to the runner-up spot by a head.

Dettori, who rode a treble for Gosden on Tuesday before they both drew a blank on Wednesday, would not be drawn on whether he preferred receiving the trophy from Prince Harry’s wife Meghan on Tuesday or Queen Elizabeth II after the Gold Cup.

“The Queen only presents two trophies, the Gold Cup and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes,” he added. “So to receive one from her is a magical moment.”

Dettori, who joked that the saddlecloth with 60 on it he received from the Queen was dusty after lying unused all Wednesday, said the rumours about retirement, which circulated around the time of the Epsom Derby earlier this month, were wide of the mark.

“I’m still here and you can’t get rid of me,” he said.