Stradivarius justified odds-on favouritism in impressive style in the Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup.
The John Gosden-trained four-year-old was sent off the 4-6 favourite and Frankie Dettori’s mount treated his rivals with contempt down the long home straight on the Knavesmire to scure his second QIPCO British Champions prize, having landed the Qatar Goodwood Cup last summer.
Dettori allowed himself a look between his legs over a furlong out and when he asked him to go and win his race, Desert Skyline and Call To Mind had no response.
“He’s a star – it’s very rare you get a stayer with a turn of foot, but that is what he has got. It’s a deadly combination,” said Dettori. “It is a great weapon to have over this distance and he’s a force to be reckoned with now.”
Third in the St Leger and only a length behind Order Of St George at Ascot on Champions day, Stradivarius is set to renew rivalry with Aidan O’Brien’s ace in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
Dettori added: “He is the young pretender in the Gold Cup, with fresh legs, and he’s on the way up.”
Gosden said: “That was a proper test first time back and I haven’t been working him like that, I can assure you. He’d only done bridle work so I couldn’t be more happy.”
Looking to Ascot, he added: “I promise you I can’t practice over two and a half miles (Gold Cup trip) at home, so the answer to if he will stay we’ll find out when they turn for home.
“We’ll go for the Gold Cup, but it’s uncharted territory. He switches off and the freshness is out of him, so if you relax and switch off you’ve got a chance.”
The victory also qualifies Stradivarius to challenge for the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers Million, a bonus he would land if he could claim the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup.
Gosden said: “It’s good, isn’t it – we’ve now got the big hurdle (Gold Cup), that was the little hurdle!”
David Elsworth said of runner-up Desert Skyline: “He’s a tough individual, but he wants to go faster and further. We’ll leave him until the Gold Cup now, and he should have a good chance.”