ROYAL ASCOT 2020: Dettori gets a winning tune out of Gold Cup history-maker Stradivarius

Yahoo Sport UK
Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori are lead into the winners enclosure after victory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot
Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori are lead into the winners enclosure after victory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot

Frankie said 'relax' and he was right again because no-one knows how to get a winning tune out of Stradivarius better than Mr Royal Ascot, writes James Toney.

Dettori would have lay in bed last night listening to the rain clatter against his roof, fearing a bid for a historic third Gold Cup would falter as the ground got softer and softer.

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But the saying goes that class horses win on any ground and Stradivarius is certainly in a class of his own - almost.

Because now history beckons again as he surely goes for four in a row next year - equalling the achievements of the legendary Yeats, whose statue graces Ascot's winners' enclosure.

His previous two wins were impressive but this was easily the best yet, as he flashed across the line with a telescope needed to see his nearest rival, ten lengths behind and counting.

Down the straight he loomed like a predator, Dettori 'pushing the button' with two furlongs to go and seeing his charge leave rivals choking on his jet-propelled flumes.

Dettori loves these sort of occasions and as he crossed the line in splendid isolation, he milked the applause of the smattering of course and stable staff allowed to see history in action.

A trademark flying dismount followed, again to a gentle ripple of applause, but that barely detracted from another triumphant chapter in the most storied of racing careers.

"It's an amazing achievement," said Dettori, after landing the Group One race, part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

"The rain this morning was against him but he did it well. I'm very proud of the horse and he took off in the straight. I've ridden some great horses and he's one of the greats.

“I'm so proud of him and he is a joy to be around. He will go down as one of the great stayers like Yeats and Sagaro and who knows, maybe we will try for the four wins next year.

"It just shows you what a fighter and how versatile he is. Stradivarius is a wonderful horse. You never ever are on the bridle in the Gold Cup a furlong out.

"He is such a character and wears his heart on his sleeve. It is great to have him around.

“Does the fact that I have now won eight Gold Cups mean I am old, or I have been lucky in the race?

"It was an amazing feeling, and a fantastic performance. One day when I am sitting in my rocking chair, to say I rode the horse who won three Gold Cups in a row – that’s a big number."

Lester Piggott won this race 11 times and Dettori, with his eight wins, is inching ever closer to the great man's mark, though he may need to keep racing through his fifties, like the great 'Long Fellow', to stand a chance of levelling that record.

Trainer John Gosden swapped his Panama for a trilby today but you don't really need a lucky hat when you've got a horse this good. Luck is just a dividend of sweat and toil.

All roads now led to Glorious Goodwood with a crack at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe even mentioned later this year. And then, hopefully, owner Bjorn Nielsen keeps him training into his seven-year old season and tilt a top plinth place in the pantheon of this meeting.

"Yeats was a phenomenon and to have a horse mentioned in that bracket is what it is all about," said Gosden.

“He has beaten some good horses in his time. People have tried to criticise the opposition, but he has put them away with that turn of foot and he has even done it on this ground.”

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