Whatever he does or doesn’t go on to achieve in racing, Stradivarius’ place in flat racing’s hall of fame is already guaranteed.
The Stayers’ Triple Crown champion has banked his connections more than £5 million in prize money during a stellar career, and so it would be fair to suggest that the eight-year-old owes his connections nothing.
But even so, a winning return in the Yorkshire Cup in May has owner Bjorn Nielsen and trainer John Gosden targeting a slice of history – Stradivarius could become only the second horse in history to win four editions of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
STRADIVARIUS wins the Yorkshire Cup 🏆💛🖤— Racing Post (@RacingPost) May 13, 2022
WHAT A HORSE 😍🐎 pic.twitter.com/qZ0ZievRx4
He has been installed as a 4/1 shot in the horse racing odds for the UK and Irish racing, with Trueshan and Kyprios made favourites by the sportsbooks for Gold Cup honours. Scope (7/1), Princess Zoe (8/1) and Broome (12/1) are considered the next best in what is likely to be a hotly-contested heat. But with such an unrivalled pedigree in domestic racing, Stradivarius will surely take some stopping.
King for a Day
Only two horses have ever won the Gold Cup more than twice – Stradivarius (consecutively from 2018 to 2020) and the outstanding Yeats, the only four-time champion who dominated the race between 2006 and 2009.
So there’s the weight of history to contend with and the age game – Yeats is the only previous eight-year-old winner of the Ascot Gold Cup since 1900, and so Stradivarius has some almighty omens to overcome.
But even so, this is an elite horse capable of incredible feats, and Trueshan trainer Alan King is certainly not going to rule out a main competitor for one of the most prestigious prizes in racing.
He was on hand at York to watch his rival’s Yorkshire Cup victory in person, and he was impressed with what he saw. “Stradivarius produced a great performance – he was awesome. It was lovely to see,” King said admiringly.
The experienced handler also gave a thumbs-up to Kyprios, and the Aidan O’Brien horse is another who could come into contention in the eyes of many judges. “It was wonderful to see Stradivarius run so well, but Aidan’s horse did awfully well as well, so it is all building up,” King confirmed. “And we’re looking forward to it.”
The connections of each of the main players will be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast in the lead-up to June’s flagship occasion. While Stradivarius is capable of winning on any surface, Kyprios – the winner of the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown – seems to prefer faster ground while King will be performing a rain dance or two in the weeks ahead to get the softer ground that Trueshan performs best on.
Levmoss Stakes (G3)— 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 (@WorldRacing1) May 13, 2022
2820m, 50.000 EUR, for 4yo+
(4C Galileo – Polished Gem, by Danehill)
J : Ryan Moore
T :A.P. O'Brien
O :Moyglare Stud Farm & Mrs John Magnier & Michael Tabor
B : @MoyglareStudpic.twitter.com/EnS15gNKaS
Ascot was soft in places when the six-year-old prevailed in the Long Distance Cup over Stradivarius, and other victories in the Goodwood Cup and a classy Prix du Cadran confirm Trueshan’s fondness for a bit of give under foot.
So, as ever, punters are advised to look up when determining their Gold Cup selections, but it would take a hardy soul to write off Stradivarius ahead of his date with destiny.