Beaten Stradivarius will fight on after his bid for a fifth Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup ended in defeat… with the Lonsdale Cup at York next month the next opportunity to end his illustrious career on a high
- Victory at Al Shaqab Goodwood would likely have seen Stradivarius retire
- But the race was won by Aidan O’Brien-trained Ascot Gold Cup winner Kyprios
- Stradivarius now looks likely to head for the Lonsdale Cup at York next month
Stradivarius, thwarted by a neck in his bid for a historic fifth Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup win, looks likely to head for the Lonsdale Cup at York next month in another bid to end his illustrious career on a winning note.
Victory in a dramatic race on Tuesday would almost certainly have seen the final curtain fall on a 35-race career in which Stradivarius has earned his owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen £5.3million in prizemoney and bonuses.
Defeat to Aidan O’Brien-trained Ascot Gold Cup winner Kyprios with Alan King-trained 2021 Goodwood Cup a length and a quarter further back in third was disappointing but showed that Stradivarius still has plenty to give despite being eligible to claim his pension.
Stradivarius (above) failed to deliver a historic fifth Al Shaqab Goodwood on Tuesday
How much a little jostling in the home straight – first with Trueshan and then Thunderous – and then having to race alone on the far rail played a part in Stradivarius’ defeat was debatable.
But Nielsen was adamant it was a factor and equally determined that his colt’s career should not end on a downbeat note.
The owner said: ‘I don’t want to say I think he could have won but things didn’t go right for him.
‘They were wide apart. He got beat a neck. He won’t stop at that, this is not his last race. Unless they double the prizemoney he won’t go back to the Doncaster Cup but he could potentially run in the Lonsdale Cup at York.’
John Gosden added: ‘He got a bit stranded and had nothing left to race with.. Stradivarius is a wise old owl now and he knows when he gets to the front that he has done his bit.
Stradivarius nowlooks likely to head for the Lonsdale Cup at York next month
‘At his age, he likes something to run with and has never been a horse to go and win by far.’
The build-up to Tuesday’s race had been dominated with regular jockey Frankie Dettori being replaced by Andrea Atzeni in the aftermath of the controversial and much-debated defeat of Stradivarius in last month’s Ascot Gold Cup.
Dettori, who won the opening Chesterfield Cup on Charlie and Mark Johnston-trained Forest Falcon, admitted he was sad to lose the Stradivarius ride but he was alongside the Nielsen and the Gosdens in the paddock before the race hoping for a positive outcome.
Having endured his nightmare at Ascot, Dettori probably empathised with his fellow Italian as events unfolded up the home straight.
Al Shaqab Goodwood winner Kyprios is undoubtedly the future of the staying division
But the one thing that should not be overlooked was the determined way 6-4 favourite Kyprios stuck his head down in the last 50 yards, pulling out more.
He is undoubtedly the future of the staying division but at this stage he is the support act to one of the greatest stayers the sport has ever seen.
It was a cheering ovation for Stradivarius as he returned to unsaddling enclosure while Kyprios, who now goes for the Irish St Leger, slipped back almost unnoticed. It will not always be the case.
Kyprios is the future but Stradivarius is not the past just yet.
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