Stradivarius has shown why he is regarded as the world’s best stayer by dominating the Group Two Doncaster Cup to claim his 10th successive victory.
Trained by John Gosden, the five-year-old has ruled the staying division over the past couple of seasons with back-to-back wins in the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup.
In the immediate aftermath of his latest triumph at York, connections suggested his next port of call would be a defence of next month’s Long Distance Cup at Ascot but Gosden had a late change of heart and took him to Doncaster.
Stradivarius was the 1-9 favourite in the hands of Frankie Dettori and his legion of fans had few concerns for the duration of the two-and-a-quarter-mile (3600m) contest.
The Andrew Balding-trained Cleonte tried to inject some pace on the second circuit but Stradivarius swiftly reeled him in and went on to win by 1-3/4 lengths.
“He’s a lovely horse. I had no intention of coming here, but he was so fresh, rearing up and shouting all the time, so I thought we’d come and win the Doncaster Cup,” Gosden said.
“It hadn’t been the plan, but (owner) Mr (Bjorn) Nielsen was very good about it.
“He’s a gorgeous horse to train, but he was getting so playful at home.
“I think Mr Nielsen’s big plan, if the horse is happy and well, is to go to Ascot next year. He would love to win three Gold Cups. We’ll try to do that if we can and we’ll see what comes out of the Leger as potential challengers.”
Dettori said the win was never in doubt.
“That’s the easiest he’s won,” he said.
“He’s so great to ride, he relaxes, he quickens. Brilliant. It was a messy race, but we expected it to be like that.
“He’s got one more gear than the rest, so I used Oisin as a reference point. I gave him three or four lengths start because I knew once I passed him he thinks he’s done enough.”