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The Matchbook Yorkshire Cup

LD
Stradivarius
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History

The Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, which opens the British Champions Series Long Distance division, is run over 1 mile 6 furlongs (2,800 metres) at York and open to four-year-olds or older. What does it take to win this Group 2 race? The late Sir Henry Cecil knew better than most. He trained the 2010 winner Manifest, 23 years after his previous success. Cecil also trained top-class stayer Ardross, the only horse to win the race twice, in 1981 and 1982.

Lester Piggott was on board on both occasions, giving him his seventh and eighth Yorkshire Cup success. The race, established in 1927 and run in mid-May, was originally contested over two miles.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 4 wins (1991, 2000-1, 2003)
Current leading trainer: Saeed bin Suroor, 5 wins (1995-6, 2000-1, 2003); Sir Michael Stoute, 5 wins (1992, 2009, 2014-15, 2017)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

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2019

Super stayer Stradivarius retains Yorkshire Cup crown

Stradivarius secured a seventh success in the QIPCO British Champions Series when making a triumphant return to action in the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup.

The John Gosden-trained five-year-old dominated the staying division in 2018, winning each of his five starts. Only Frankel, with nine wins, has won more Champions Series races.

Making his first appearance since triumphing on QIPCO British Champions Day  in October and saddled with a 3lb penalty, Stradivarius was the 4-5 favourite in the hands of Frankie Dettori and although he came under pressure early in the home straight, he responded generously to his rider’s urgings.

Aidan O’Brien’s Irish challenger Southern France had the benefit of run already this season and did his best to make a race of it, but with the rail to help, Dettori’s mount got on top close home and passed the post a comfortable three-quarters of a length to the good.

Mildenberger fared best of the rest in third, with Dubai Gold Cup runner-up Ispolini a shade disappointing in fourth.

Paddy Power make Stradivarius the 6-4 favourite to retain his Gold Cup crown at Royal Ascot and keep his hopes of a second £1million bonus alive.

A delighted Gosden said: “Obviously this was a prep for the Gold Cup and he hadn’t been trained hard for this. The Gold Cup is two and a half miles, a different ball game.

“It was a reasonable early pace, then they slowed it right down. That’s probably not ideal for him, but I liked the way he showed a bit of grit in the end. Frankie said he was a bit ring rusty.

“He’s not the polished article yet. We hope to have that at Royal Ascot.

“I wasn’t concerned, as he’s a street fighter once he got over being a stallion in the saddling boxes, roaring and shouting, slightly misbehaving. Then he goes out there and races and gets into a different zone.

“He was in the nightclub when I was saddling him and fortunately on the running track when he was racing.”

He added: “The key is not to over-train him. He’s a very proud horse. He does enough in his work without being generous.”

Dettori said: “It was brilliant. There was the penalty and he was a bit rusty. There wasn’t much of a pace, it was more of a sprint.

“It took me a while to get to Ryan (Moore, on Southern France), but once we got upsides there was only going to be one winner.

“He’s a fighter and he’s got me out of trouble so many times.

“He’s going to be a big name in the staying division again. He’s not flash, but you know you’re going to win a fight with him.”

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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