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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. Times Up, Ahzeemah, Pale Mimosa and Max Dynamite have won the the last four runnings.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 5 wins (2006, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2018)
Current leading trainer: Mark Johnston, 3 wins (1995, 1997, 2000)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

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

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Stradivarius proves one in a million

Stradivarius continued his domination of the Staying Category of the QIPCO British Champions Series with a workmanlike success in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York.

It means he has won the first four legs of the division and his exploits have been richly rewarded because victory enabled his connections to scoop the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million bonus.

And Stradivarius may yet be given the chance to emulate Frankel and become only the second horse to win five Series races in one season. Bjorn Nielsen, his owner-breeder, says if he runs again this season it is likely to be in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day.

Victories in the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup had left the top-class stayer, on the brink of the bonus.

He was not at his brilliant best but the John Gosden-trained four-year-old, sent off at 4-11, ultimately got the upper hand in the final furlong to beat his old rival Count Octave in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

Petitioner, wearing the Nielsen second colours, set an average gallop until the turn for home, where Count Octave took over.

Stradivarius took some time to find his feet, but he knuckled down to his task and once he hit the front at the furlong pole, he kept up the gallop to beat Count Octave by a length and half.

Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho was four and a half lengths away in third place.

Gosden said: “Full marks to the owner, he’s been trying to breed a Derby winner for years and he ends up with a Cup horse!

“But seriously, he’s passionate about breeding and puts a lot of time and effort into it, so he deserves it. It’s an extraordinary achievement. The horse has a lot of determination, but also a lot of class.

“I wouldn’t say he was at his sparkling best today, but we can’t complain as we won.”

A proud Nielsen said: “To win just one leg of the incentive is huge, they are all prestigious races.

“To win four, first of all you need a tremendous horse, but you also need an enormous amount of luck and a very talented trainer to bring the horse to a peak four times in a season.

“As for next season, it seems pretty obvious to keep him to the same races.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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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.

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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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