Stradivarius joined the immortals on an unforgettable Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot.
History was made on day three of Royal Ascot 2020 as Stradivarius became only the third horse to win a hat-trick of Gold Cups following a breathtaking display of speed and stamina. His rivals were left toiling in his wake, leaving all who saw it reaching for the superlatives.
After previously winning ten races in a row, the 2018 and 2019 Gold Cup winner arrived to defend his crown having suffered two consecutive defeats. With the soft conditions not ideal, Stradivarius had a few questions to answer as he headed to the start for his date with destiny.
He answered in emphatic fashion, producing arguably the most impressive performance of his career by storming to a ten-length victory and a place alongside Sagaro and Yeats in the pantheon of Gold Cup legends to have won the race three years on the bounce.
Usually a horse who just does enough in his races, there was nothing understated about Stradivarius this time – he swaggered into the history books.
“It’s a wonderful feeling and I’m very proud of the horse,” said winning jockey Frankie Dettori.
“Maybe we’ll come back next year to try and equal Yeats’ record [of four Gold Cup wins]. I’ve ridden some great horses and he is one of them. He’s a real character and wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s great to be around.”
Trainer John Gosden paid tribute to his superstar stayer, revealing that Stradivarius wasn’t 100% happy on the rain-softened ground despite his stunning display.
“He’s beaten some fabulous horses over the years and to come and do it again today is testament to the horse,” Gosden said.
“His favorite ground is Good to Firm but he has the heart and the class to win on any ground and he proved that today.”
The other stars of day three were jockey Jim Crowley and trainer Roger Varian, with both winning multiple races on Thursday.
Crowley extended his lead at the top of the QIPCO leading jockey standings with a double aboard Molatham (The Jersey Stakes) and Khaloosy (The Britannia Stakes), moving him onto six winners for the week with two days still to come.
Both of those winners were trained by Varian and they completed a memorable treble for him following Mountain Angel’s victory in the Wolferton Stakes under William Buick.
The regally bred Battleground’s impressive win in the Chesham Stakes marked him out as a horse to follow for the rest of the season, while the opening and closing handicaps were taken by Highland Chief (Rossa Ryan/Paul and Oliver Cole) and Onassis (Hayley Turner/Charlie Fellowes) respectively.
Turner’s victory on Onassis meant she has won back-to-back renewals of the Sandringham Stakes and the first female jockey to win twice at Royal Ascot. Her 2019 win on Thanks Be saw her become only the second female jockey to win at the Royal Meeting, and the first in 32 years.
Day Three Highlights
Longines Sectional Timing Highlights Day 3
Stradivarius calls the tune again for third Gold Cup
The numbers backed up the pictures from Stradivarius’ visually stunning performance to land a third consecutive Gold Cup. Showing his customary acceleration despite the slow ground, Stradivarius closed out the marathon trip in 39.93s across the final three furlongs with a top speed of 35.3mph in the final furlong. By contrast, the next best Nayef Road was 42.50s through the last three furlongs hitting the line at 30.8mph.
Straight lines help Molatham
Molatham, part of a treble on the card for Roger Varian, was another horse to show the benefits of running in a straight line as he got the better of Monarch Of Egypt in the Jersey Stakes. Aidan O’Brien’s runner looked to have claimed the race late but hung to the far side and covered 1413.1m in total while the winner travelled just 1410.9m which was a crucial difference.
Khaloosy a class above
Khaloosy put in a smooth performance to turn the normally competitive Britannia Stakes into a procession as he clocked some impressive closing sectionals. His final four furlongs were all faster than anything else in the field and the final three furlong time of 37.89s was over a second quicker than any other horse.
Ascot Racecourse Press Release
Photo: Stradivarius. Credit: Ascot Racecourse