Stradivarius confirmed himself the best stayer by scooping back-to-back renewals of the Qatar Goodwood Cup.
It was a third successive win in the QIPCO British Champions Series for the John Gosden-trained four-year-old, winner of the Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup and Gold Cup earlier in the campaign.
He will scoop his connections the £1 million Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million if he extends his winning sequence in another Series race next month – the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup. Paddy Power make him 1-2 to do so.
Like 12 months ago, Stradivarius, sent off at 4-5, was again ridden by Andrea Atzeni, standing in for suspended Frankie Dettori.
Stradivarius wore down his market rival, pace-setting Torcedor, to win by half a length, although he looked to score with something up in his sleeve.
Gosden said of the Bjorn Nielsen-owned-and-bred Stradivarius: “We had a great horse race on Saturday in the King George, and another great horse race today – two really brave horses who both had a tough race at Royal Ascot [in the Gold Cup]. Colm [O’Donoghue, who rode Torcedor] rode a clever race in front today and did everything right, but our horse battled hard.
“The pace was a little stop-go, which you would expect at Goodwood when someone is in front and making the running to suit themselves, and to that extent we had work to do to get past him.
“They have long criticised chestnut horses with four white socks and a white face, or at least they did until The Minstrel came along in the 1970s and won Derbys and King Georges, and this horse is the same. He has a lot of heart and Andrea said he had the race under control in the last half a furlong.
“He’s the most charming horse to be around – a real gentleman. He’s a little bit like a motorbike; he can go out there and do a little bit on his own or a bit in company. You press the button and off he goes, you flick the switch and he pulls up. He’s a lovely ride.”
He added: “The Lonsdale Cup is the next stop and we’ll have to do everything we can to try and win it. We have three and a half weeks which should be all right. Andrea did not give the horse a hard race today because he was thinking ahead.”
Nielsen said: “It was harder than I thought it would be. Andrea said they didn’t go that quick and it was harder for him to pick up off a slow pace. Once he got rolling, he was always going to get there.
“Breeding is game of trial and error, and you are mainly making mistakes all the time, but with a large slice of luck, you come up with a good horse.”
The William Haggas-trained Call To Mind was pulled up in the straight by his jockey James Doyle who immediately dismounted. Vets were quickly on-hand to assess the situation.
Call To Mind was taken to the racecourse stables in a horse ambulance. He suffered a tendon injury and will not race again.