Everything that Stradivarius did as a two-year-old and a three-year-old turned out to be merely a warm-up for the sensational staying career that awaited him.
Trained at Newmarket by the brilliant John Gosden, Stradivarius was unsurprisingly a late two-year-old and didn’t make his debut until October 5, 2016, finishing an inauspicious 5th of 9 in a Nottingham maiden.
Another maiden defeat (4th of 10 at Newmarket behind another Gosden star Cracksman) followed before the chestnut finally got his head in front on the all-weather at Newcastle on November 7, 2016.
Stradivarius began his three-year-old campaign in handicap company, scooting to a six-length victory at Beverley before finishing second to Here And Now under Frankie Dettori at Chester.
The first move into Group company for Stradivarius came at Royal Ascot 2017 when he took the Group Two Queen’s Vase under Andrea Atzeni. Next time out he bettered that performance by shocking recent Ascot Gold Cup hero Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup.
The 2017 season ended with more respectable performances from Stradivarius as he first finished a game third behind Capri in the St Leger at Doncaster and then again filled the minor place behind Order Of St George in the Long Distance Cup on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.
Stradivarius was expected to be a major player in all the big Cup races in 2018, but few expected what he was to produce in the coming months.
First the chestnut, sent off the 4/6 favourite, destroyed his rivals in the Yorkshire Cup at York in May. That gave him the opportunity to shoot for that £1million jackpot. It was also the first time that superstar jockey Frankie Dettori had partnered him to victory. It would not be the last.
Next up was Royal Ascot and the Gold Cup, and after being sent to post the 7/4 favourite Stradivarius showed guts as well as class under Dettori’s urgings to outpoint the French raider Vazirabad by three-quarters of a length.
Now Stradivarius was halfway to that £1million bonus and next up was the bid for a repeat victory in the Goodwood Cup at the Glorious meeting in late July. And despite the absence in the saddle of Dettori through suspension, he again produced a gutsy display for Atzeni to beat Torcedor by half a length.
Dettori had a million reasons to be back in the saddle for the Lonsdale Cup at York’s Ebor meeting on August 24, 2018, and Stradivarius didn’t disappoint. Sent off a prohibitive 4/11 favourite, he saw off Count Octave by one-and-a-half lengths to seal that staggering bonus for connections.
For the second consecutive year Stradivarius ended his season in the Long Distance Cup on Ascot’s Champions Day, and this time he came out victorious, outstaying Thomas Hobson by one-and-a-half lengths at odds of Evens. This despite Gosden almost pulling him out of the race on account of the soft ground.
At the age of only five there were high hopes Stradivarius would again be a star in 2019, and so far he has not disappointed. Again he opened his year in the Yorkshire Cup and again he reigned supreme, but despite being sent off 4/5 favourite he had to work hard to see off Aidan O’Brien with Southern France by three-quarters of a length.
So with entry for another £1million bonus bid secured, it was the opportunity to bid for a repeat Ascot Gold Cup success next. And on June 20, 2019, in front of an expectant crowd at Ascot Stradivarius again delivered.
With Dettori having already won the first three races of the afternoon, the bookmakers were running for cover as the Italian jumped on board John Gosden’s chestnut. And again he held all the aces despite being boxed in early in the short straight, delivering a killer run to cut down Mark Johnston and his Dee Ex Bee to win by a length.