Stradivarius secured his 10th successive victory with a dominant display in the Magners Rose Doncaster Cup.
John Gosden’s five-year-old has completely dominated 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 seeing him scoop the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million in both 2018 and 2019.
In the immediate aftermath of his latest triumph at York, connections suggested his next port of call would be next month’s Long Distance Cup at Ascot – which he also won last season – but a late change of heart saw Gosden bring his charge to Town Moor.
With old foe Dee Ex Bee a late withdrawal, Stradivarius was the 1-9 favourite in the hands of regular partner Frankie Dettori and his legion of fans had few concerns for the duration of the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest.
After initially being left in front, Andrew Balding’s Cleonte was sent on by Oisin Murphy heading out for the second circuit in an attempt to inject some pace in the race, and he was still going great guns rounding the turn for home.
However, once popped the question by Dettori, Stradivarius swiftly reeled in the leader and kicked clear for a comfortable one-and-three-quarter-length victory.
Cleonte boxed on admirably to fill the runner-up spot, with the Willie Mullins-trained Max Dynamite – runner-up to stablemate Thomas Hobson in last year’s renewal – back in third.
Gosden said: “Frankie was right to go forward, then Oisin decided he wanted to make a race of it.
“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 – it hadn’t been the plan, but Mr (Bjorn) Nielsen was very good about it.
“He’s a gorgeous horse to train, but he was getting so playful at home – this was a five-day entry so I had to put him in.
“If you wait for Champions Day and it’s heavy, he won’t be running.”
He went on: “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.
“He’s had a much easier season this year than last. The race in the Gold Cup (last year) was mighty tough and he was a tired horse by the Lonsdale. This year he’s a very fresh horse still.
“I think next year’s it’s Ascot Gold Cup and probably Goodwood Cup, and then we might worry about other options.
“I think he’d like to have a Sagaro, Yorkshire Cup – go that route again if the horse is in great order, then regroup, which would be a bit of fun.”
Dettori – again in flying dismount form – said: “That’s the easiest he’s won – he’s so great to ride, he relaxes, he quickens. Brilliant. It was a messy race, but we expected it to be like that.
“I tried to make the running, but as we got to the bend he was looking at everything. Oisin was running keen and I got a tow off him. We went slow, we sprinted the last three and a half (furlongs).
“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.
“I used Oisin as tow to the furlong marker and said, ‘come on let’s put the race to bed’, and he won really easily.”
Before signing off, Gosden also had a word on his other stable star, the mighty Enable, who is being prepared for an attempt on a record-breaking third success in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
He said: “She’s in great form. I couldn’t be more pleased with her. She’s in really good nick and we’ll build her up to the Arc now.”