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Stradivarius and Enbihaar give Gosden strong hand in QIPCO Long Distance Cup Entries

1 Sep 2020

Champion Trainer not ruling anything out as stars remain entered for QIPCO British Champions Day marathon


John Gosden is not ruling out champion stayer Stradivarius returning to Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day to run for a fourth successive year in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, although the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe remains the six-year-old’s main target.

A three-time winner of the Gold Cup at Ascot and a record four-time winner of the Goodwood Cup, Stradivarius first ran in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup as a three-year-old, when third to Order Of St George.

He beat Thomas Hobson 12 months later and then last year went down by just a nose to Kew Gardens, his first defeat in two years coming at the end of one of the most stirring battles seen on any QIPCO British Champions Day.

Gosden, who has also entered five-time Group 2 winner Enbihaar, said: “It will depend upon how we get on in the Arc, but Stradivarius is a tough horse and it’s not out of the question. I’ve found in this game that it pays to have a couple of extra entries up your sleeve in case something happens, but the plan right now is the Prix Foy and then the Arc.”

Fujaira Prince is set to be a fascinating challenger for Roger Varian. The talented grey has been expertly placed to land the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot and the Ebor Handicap at York on his only public appearances this year, and a new BHA mark of 114 puts him right in the mix, with the potential for still more to come.

Varian, who has yet to win one of QIPCO British Champions Day’s feature races, but took the Balmoral Handicap for Fujaira Prince’s owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum with Sharja Bridge two years ago, said: “He’s fine after the Ebor but we decided against entering for the Melbourne Cup.

“We have to take it day by day with him, but I’d like to see him at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day as he runs the track very well and he handles autumn conditions. He’s never run two miles but he relaxes so well that we would be hopeful he’d get it, and if he does he ought to be very competitive.”

Irish Derby winner Santiago heads the entries from the Aidan O’Brien stable, which is invariably strongly represented here and has already won the race three times with Fame And Glory (2011), Order Of St George (2017) and Kew Gardens (2019).

Santiago is currently favourite for the Pertemps St Leger at Doncaster on 12th September but could head on to Ascot, where he would be bidding to become the race’s first three-year-old winner. Irish Derby third Dawn Patrol, also in the St Leger, is another likely type.

O’Brien said: “Santiago is obviously being trained for the St Leger first, and his preparation has gone well, but the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup would definitely be a possibility for him after that. Dawn Patrol is another for the St Leger, and we usually find that we learn there which way to go with this type of horse.”

Andrew Balding is invariably strong in the staying department and he earmarked King Power Racing’s seven-year-old Morando for the race early in the season.

He said: “Morando has been trained all year with the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup very much in mind, and although he has never raced at two miles before he’s won an Ormonde Stakes at Chester (beat last year’s Long Distance Cup winner Kew Gardens by eight lengths) and his running style suggests it’s well worth having a go at the trip. The key to him of course is that when the mud is flying he flies.”

William Haggas spoke in similar vein about Monica Sheriff, most recently a staying-on fourth to Fujaira Prince in the Ebor. He said: “Monica Sheriff could be quite lethal at Ascot if the ground is testing. She will get an entry in the Fillies & Mares too (CHECK).”

Mark Johnston has entered Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup second Nayef Road and Saturday’s runaway Ladbrokes March Stakes winner Subjectivist. The pair are likely to have Doncaster on the agenda first, in the Doncaster Cup and the St Leger respectively, but the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup will be a very tempting next stop.

Full entries for the QIPCO Long Distance Cup:

Anthony Van Dyck (IRE), Believe In Love (IRE), Broome (IRE), Cleonte (IRE), Dawn Patrol (IRE), Deja (FR), Dubious Affair (IRE), Emperor of The Sun (IRE), Enbihaar (IRE), Fujaira Prince (IRE), Goshen (FR), Kastasa (IRE), Logician (GB), Master of Reality (IRE), Max Vega (IRE), Mildenberger (GB), Monica Sheriff (GB), Morando (FR), Mythical (FR), Nayef Road (IRE), Nobel Prize (IRE), Order of Australia (IRE), Passion (IRE), Persia (IRE), Raa Atoll (GB), Red Verdon (USA), Retrospect (IRE), Santiago (IRE), Search For A Song (IRE), Selino (GB), Snow (IRE), Sovereign (IRE), Spanish Mission (USA), Stradivarius (IRE), Stratum (GB), Subjectivist (GB), Trueshan (FR), Twilight Payment (IRE), Verdana Blue (IRE), Yankee Stadium (IRE)