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Stradivarius gets chance to clinch Stayers’ Triple Crown in Doncaster Cup

11 Sep 2019

The five-year-old star will be bidding for a tenth successive victory on Town Moore this Friday.

Stradivarius will face five rivals when he attempts to win the £100,000 Magners Rose Doncaster Cup on Friday, a race that forms part of the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The all-conquering John Gosden-trained stayer, unbeaten for almost two years and seeking a tenth successive win, will become the first horse in 24 years to complete the Stayers’ Triple Crown if he triumphs at Town Moor.

Double Trigger was the last to achieve the feat of winning the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup in 1995.

Stradivarius’ past three wins have been achieved at the main expense of Dee Ex Bee. and the pair will meet for a fourth time at Town Moor, although on this occasion Dee Ex Bee will be in receipt of 5lb. Mark Johnston, his trainer, said: “What is there to say? We’ve met him [Stradivarius] three times  and come off worse every time. To be honest, we were not expecting him to come on to Doncaster.

“Two and a quarter miles gives us an extra quarter of a mile to play with compared to York last time, but he beat us in the Ascot Gold Cup [over further] as well. There’s no reason to think Stradivarius has any chinks in his armour, unless he’s not at his best on the day.

“After Friday we will also look at QIPCO British Champions Day for Dee Ex Bee but it’s odds-on he will go for the Prix Du Cadran instead.”

The race will be a landmark occasion for Emmet Mullins as he will saddle his first runner in a Group race in the shape of the improving Sneaky Getaway.

The Cheltenham Festival-winning rider (he won on Sir Des Champs in 2011 for his uncle, Willie) turned to training at the age of 25 four years ago and his biggest successes have been achieved over jumps, including in France this month.

He does not discount Sneaky Getaway going hurdling at some stage but the six-year-old, who belatedly began his career this year running in bumpers, was a commanding handicap winner at Tramore on his latest start and has achieved an official rating of 101 in only three starts on the Flat, albeit that is 20lb less than the mark allotted to Stradivarius.

Mullins said: “Sneaky Getaway’s very exciting – every challenge we’ve given him he has come through. He initially came to me last year as a five-year-old but he had little niggly things [wrong with him] and so I sent him home. This year he’s come back and looked a different horse.

“There was an option to run him in a handicap over a mile and five in Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend but I thought he might be a little on his head there. Stamina is his strong suit and the two-and-a-quarter-miles of the Doncaster Cup should suit him down to the ground.

“He’s very uncomplicated. He’s made the running to win races, and been dropped in to win races. Over those extreme distances he’s flexible.”

He added: “I think we blew his handicap mark the last day when he went up to 101. Once you are over 100 you are not far away from most of the horses in the [Doncaster Cup] field with the exception of Stradivarius and Dee Ex Bee.