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The Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup

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History

The Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup, staged during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York and the fourth long-distance event of the QIPCO British Champions Series, is clearly a race on the up.

It began as a relatively modest ‘listed race’ but was promoted to Group 3 status in 1998, then to its current classification of Group 2 in 2004. Today it is run over 2 miles and 88 yards (3,280 metres) and is open to three-year-olds and older horses.

Previous winners include Persian Punch, one of horseracing’s most popular stayers who was still racing aged 10, while Pat Eddery had a great record in the race, riding the winner on five victories. The last of those was on a horse called Celeric, one of three horses to win the race on two occasions (the horse was due to be named Celeriac but the name was mis-spelt on the registration papers).

The 2010 race was won by Frankie Dettori on Opinion Poll and the pair returned 12 months later for another success on the Knavesmire.

In the past two years, Dettori has clicked on the outstanding Stradivarius – each time sealing the Stayers Million offered by Weatherbys Hamilton.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 6 wins (2006, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2018, 2019)
Current leading trainer: Mark Johnston, 3 wins (1995, 1997, 2000)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Stradivarius nudges ahead of Frankel in Series triumphs

Stradivarius made QIPCO British Champions Series history with his second victory in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York giving him a tenth win in a race that falls under the Series umbrella.

The previous record holder was none other than Frankel, who won nine Series races in 2011 and 2012.

Stradivarius scooped a £1million bonus offered by Weatherbys Hamilton for the second year running when showing once again he is in a class of his own in the stayers’ division on the Knavesmire.

John Gosden’s remarkable five-year-old took his winning sequence to nine in his usual gritty, fighting style in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

The 4-9 favourite broke well, but Dee Ex Bee soon went on, with Il Paradiso in third and Falcon Eight bringing up the tail.

Silvestre de Sousa turned up the heat more than five furlongs out on the leader, but Dettori was unconcerned as he kept Stradivarius tucked up within hailing distance of Mark Johnston’s charge.

Il Paradiso drew alongside Dee Ex Bee, but all along Stradivarius was in their slipstream, before Dettori switched him to the stands rail and swept to the front a furlong from home.

Gallant though his two closest pursuers were, they were well held and Stradivarius went on to win by a length and a quarter. Dee Ex Bee was second for the third time running behind his nemesis, with Aidan O’Brien’s Il Paradiso another nose away.

Gosden said: “He’s done it on most ground, soft and obviously quick today, they’ve broken the track record – he’s just a cool character, he expresses himself.

“You don’t overwork him, he does what he does in a race and once he hits the front and goes a length up he says, ‘I’ve done my job, thank you’.

“Frankie didn’t wave (before the line) today because when he did that at Goodwood he thought it was all finished. He’ll be a tired horse, but by Sunday morning he’ll be rearing on his hind legs, which is his party trick.

“They went sensible before turning it on at the 10-furlong start and there was Aidan’s three-year-old with him who we were giving 15lb to.

“He has this weapon of a turn of foot like the great Sagaro and Yeats – if these stayers can get in a rhythm you are not stressing and allied with a burst of speed it disarms the others, it’s a great weapon.”

Proud owner Bjorn Nielsen said: “I’ve said before that I started out trying to breed a Derby horse and I’ve ended up with him, but you couldn’t have a horse better than him, even if you won a Derby.

“He’s a rare beast, to win what has. He never makes it easy, you never know what he has left. A 3lb penalty is a lot over two miles and Dee Ex Bee gives his all every time, but he comes up trumps every time.

“This year he’s a lot stronger, I thought he won the Gold Cup fairly comfortably, and he didn’t give us as much of a fright here today as he did last year.”

Asked if like last year Stradivarius would go on to Ascot for the Long Distance Cup on QIPCO British Champions Day, Gosden said: “I think Bjorn is keen to do it again, as long as the horse is happy is well.”

Johnston said of Dee Ex Bee: “What can you say? He’s run a good race again. We’ll go for the Doncaster Cup next.”

O’Brien said of Il Paradiso: “I’m very happy – we’re delighted with his run. I’m not sure where we’ll go next. He’s a horse that obviously stays very well and he would have an option of going for the St Leger – we’ll see about that, but it’s definitely an option.”

Results

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The Course

The city of York and its racecourse have a long and colourful history, involving – among others - the Vikings, the Romans, Pope John Paul II, highwayman Dick Turpin, and the Princess Royal.

There’s no official record of the Vikings racing horses at York – they apparently preferred sacking and pillaging – but the Romans certainly did, during the reign of Emperor Severus 2,000 years ago. Severus, indeed, breathed his final breath in ‘Eboracum’ – that’s Roman for York. So did Turpin. He was hanged at the Knavesmire racecourse site in 1739. Pope John Paul II enjoyed a friendlier reception, lauded by 200,000 pilgrims at an open-air mass in 1982, while Princess Anne also enjoyed huge support when winning the Queen Mother’s Cup on Insular in 1988.

The North Yorkshire track, voted Racecourse of the Year in 2003, continues to attract the crowds today, with around 350,000 flocking through the gates each year. York comes into its own during the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival in August, the meeting boasting such races as the Juddmonte International Stakes, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, and the totesport Ebor Handicap. Lester Piggott won the Ebor Handicap a record five times – the first in 1958 and the last 25 years later, in 1983.

Getting there

Tadcaster Rd York,
York
YO23 1EX

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