Ascot Gold Cup Contenders: Stradivarius profile

Stradivarius is bidding for a third win in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Stradivarius is bidding for a third win in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Steve Chambers kicks off our Ascot Gold Cup contenders series and he profiles dual winner Stradivarius, who is bidding for a hat-trick of wins in the Group 1 Royal Ascot showpiece, which takes centre stage on June 18.

Stradivarius

  • Trainer: John Gosden
  • Age: 6
  • Owner: Mr B E Nielsen
  • Races: 20
  • Wins: 14
  • Notable Race Wins: Goodwood Cup (2017, 2018, 2019), Yorkshire Cup (2018), Lonsdale Cup (2018, 2019), Gold Cup (2018, 2019), Long Distance Cup (2018)

Career Record

Breaking his maiden tag at the third time of asking at Newcastle as a juvenile, Stradivarius didn't launch himself into the limelight until his three-year-old campaign, when he produced a fine staying performance to win the 2017 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot, and from that moment he quickly became one of the most dominant stayers in recent times.

Kicking on from his Royal Ascot success, Stradivarius lowered the colours of the marathon stalwart Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup next time out at Glorious Goodwood, but he was unable to end the season on a high as he was beaten in the St Leger at Doncaster and tasted another defeat in the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day.

However, another winter on the back of the John Gosden-trained stayer saw him reach new heights over marathon trips, and from May 2018 until September 2019 he amassed a stunning unbeaten run which saw him land a multitude of top-notch Group wins. Starting off with a superb win in the Yorkshire Cup, Stradivarius then went on to dominate the 2018 Ascot Gold Cup before being victorious in the Goodwood, Lonsdale Cup and the Long Distance Cup to seal an unbeaten campaign - and scoop the inaugural £1 Million Stayers' Bonus.

Handed the same targets in 2019, Stradivarius continued his dominance of the staying division winning a host of top-class events, but having added a Doncaster Cup win to his CV towards the end of the season and having scooped the lucrative bonus for the second year running, he then failed to complete another unbeaten season as he was beaten at odds-on in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot, where he was beaten by Kew Gardens.

Cross Counter Gold Cup Profile

Positives

Course Form: Three visits to Royal Ascot have produced three stunning victories, so Stradivarius will relish a return to the Berkshire Flat extravaganza to try and claim a third Ascot Gold Cup crown on the bounce.

Stamina: A dour stayer, Stradivarius has shown that he can deal with the extreme test of the Ascot Gold Cup, and when some rivals see their petrol gauge emptying, Stradivarius will continue to plod on and sets the standard they all have to meet.

Ground: With a pretty much rain-free May, the ground is extremely quick at the moment, and Stradivarius has shown that he can act on quick ground having been victorious in the Ascot Gold Cup on good to firm ground. However, a win in soft conditions during his career shows his versatility on different surfaces, so whatever the ground conditions are on Gold Cup day they shouldn't hold any problems for the reigning champion.

Negatives

Speed: While he oozes class, Stradivarius may just lack that bit of speed in these top class races, especially if the ground is quick on the day of the Ascot Gold Cup. Stamina may be the key in this marathon event, but if a slow pace is set from the outset then it could be a race that turns into a sprint turning for home, and Stradivarius could just be uncomfortable should he need to find quickly for Frankie Dettori.

Age: The son of Sea The Stars could well be heading into the twilight of his career, and while six-year-olds have fared well in this race in recent times, with the likes of Yeats and Big Orange being victorious at six, Stradivarius may have already reached his peak, and may just prove vulnerable to an up-and-coming rival.

How will Stradivarius fare in the 2020 Ascot Gold Cup?

Entitled to be installed as the favourite for the race having won the 2018 and 2019 renewals, Stradivarius certainly sets the standard, but he showed when being beaten by Kew Gardens at the end of last season that he isn't unbeatable, and with that rival set to lock horns with Gosden's star once again, could the Aidan O'Brien-trained adversary prevail once again?

Sure to leave everything on the track, Stradivarius will relish taking on Kew Gardens again, over a longer trip this time. He is a classy performer on his day and could prove to just get the upper hand once again.

Verdict: Favourite's chance

Tip

Ascot Gold Cup
Stradivarius silk

Stradivarius

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