Gold Cup at Royal Ascot goes to Kyprios not Stradivarius

June 16, 2022

Kyprios the new kid on the block after landing Gold Cup for record-breaking O’Brien

Kyprios is the new star of the staying division after winning a tactical but dramatic renewal of the 2022 G1 Gold Cup for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.

Sent off the well-backed 13/8 favourite after two impressive wins in Ireland, Kyprios was kept wide by Ryan Moore, who was determined to ensure his mount got a clear shot at the staying showpiece in the home straight. The four-year-old picked up well when asked to go and win his race off the turn, digging in bravely to hold off Mojo Star (15/2) by half a length at the line.

It all went wrong for three-time Gold Cup winner Stradivarius (2/1). Trapped in behind a wall of horses when the pace lifted in the straight, Frankie Dettori was forced to switch his mount to the outside and, although the gallant eight-year-old stayed on, he just couldn’t reel in his younger rivals. 

Runner-up Mojo Star ran a mighty race in defeat on his first start of the season. The four-year-old has now finished second in a Derby, St Leger and a Gold Cup.

It was a record eighth Gold Cup victory for Aidan O’Brien, who said: “Ryan gave Kyprios a great ride. He saved him, held him and controlled the race. I am delighted for everyone. It’s brilliant. The horse was very brave. 

“We brought him here last year, but he came out underneath the stalls [withdrawn before Queen’s Vase]. His back was badly bruised and he didn’t get to race any more. He missed the St Leger, so it was always the plan that we would train him with this race in mind and give him two preps for it. 

“We always thought he was courageous, although you never know what will happen when you go past two miles. He had the same tenacity that he showed all the other times and Ryan was very strong on him. When he wanted him to go, he did. It was great Stradivarius was here. It makes these races even more special and incredible. I’m delighted for all the lads and the team.

“Kyprios is easy to train. He is light-bodied and a good mover. He looks after himself and they are all the things that he will need. He did it today and hopefully he can do it in the years to come. He could go to Goodwood next or something like the Irish St Leger. We’ll see how he is. I think everybody would want to aim him back here next year. We’ll see how he comes out of this, but those are the sort of races we could target.”

Moore said: “It wasn’t a nice race to ride. I didn’t like the position I was in. I knew I had Frankie on my inside and they were going slow up front. I had to move him to the outside and I don’t like doing that, but I felt I had to keep Kyprios going.

“He’s got there and Mojo Star has come to us, but this fella kicked in then and it was comfortable at the line. It wasn’t a true test today. I don’t think we saw the best of him. I am glad he has come over here and won – and there are plenty more good days to be had with him. It was a more complicated race than it should have been. I think he was much the best.

“He is a lovely horse, who has been very good in his starts this year. I was quite confident about staying the distance. He has got a lot of quality and is from a great family. There is more to come from him. He is obviously a lightly raced horse and today is the first day he has gone beyond a mile and six furlongs.

“To be fair, Aidan had him earmarked for this a year ago! He knows what he is looking for and identified the right horse in him and it all worked out right.”

Richard Hannon said of Mojo Star: “The Gold Cup next year will be the plan. He’s in all the big races. He’s very manoeuvrable. He can go back to a mile and a half and, now he gets two and a half miles, anything in between. I worked him with my milers – with Lusail and Chindit at Kempton, and I thought he might have worked the best, and wondered if he ought to be in the Queen Anne, or something! I thought then he might run a big race if he got the trip, and he got the trip. I thought he was coming and might go and win it. It is gutting, it really is galling. We’ve had too many seconds this week, but it will come. The horse is a real pleasure to be associated with, and his day will come. He’s been second in three Group Ones, now – Derbys, St Legers, Gold Cups; there aren’t many of them. He’s had a hard race today, so we’ll pick our way.”

Amo Racing’s Kia Joorabchian said: “Mojo Star hasn’t run for an awfully long time. It was his first run this year, so to run like that and get the trip was amazing. I think if he’d had a run, he would have been right up there. Richard has done a great job with him and Rossa has given him a great ride. He has never let us down in the Derby, the St Leger. He has had a lot of seconds, but he is going to get there. We’ll leave future plans to Richard.”

Rossa Ryan said: “This is Mojo Star’s first run of the season. I just got to Ryan [Moore] and went to go by him, and that lack of a run was the difference. There was nothing we could do – he just had a very delayed prep, and the boss Mr Hannon got him here in unbelievable condition. Fair dues to all the staff at home at Mr Hannon’s – they have done an incredible job.”

John Gosden said: “I think there was no real pace. I was bit surprised from having been in the box seat that we dropped back so far. The problem is when they sprint, you had to come wide to get a run and he had to come widest of all. He had a chance the last furlong and the race slipped on him. They had gone a steady pace. Stradivarius is a great horse to get here and to now run in five Gold Cups. To have the longevity he has had. He came back in and had a neigh, so he seems happy. Great credit to the horse and the owner/breeder to keep him racing. There are younger horses there that are first and second. I just wish we had been a little handier and not had to go through a wall of horses.”

Stradivarius’ jockey Frankie Dettori said: “The younger horses had more legs than me at the end. I had every chance to get them, but they were stronger than me. He’s been a great hero and came out flying. I had to pull out wide and the only place I could go was the outside and everything was getting tight. When I’ve pulled him out plenty of times, usually he’s got the electric turn of foot, but he’s not four anymore, he’s eight. I laboured a bit at the end and I was never going to get them. He has been a star. You have to pass on the baton to the younger ones. He did his best and we’re very proud of him.”

Kyprios wins the Gold Cup (credit: Megan Ridgwell)

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