TOP class colt Stradivarius will next week aim to become the first ever winner of the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ bonus.
The four-year-old has won the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup this season and will now bid to put the icing on the cake with a Lonsdale Cup victory.
Trainer John Gosden has had the bonus in mind for his superstar ever since the first of those wins back in July, and has reported the son of Sea The Stars to be in fine fettle ahead of his Group 2 assignment.
He revealed: “He is in great nick and has come out of Goodwood fine. He is heading to the Lonsdale at York.”
The Group 1 winner is likely to renew rivalry with old foe Torcedor, who made him pull out all the stops at Goodwood earlier this month – but will this time around be in receipt of weight.
York chief executive William Derby is relishing the prospect of a fierce battle between the two, and said: “Obviously Torcedor gets a 3lb pull from Goodwood with this being a Group Two so it will be interesting to see whether he can make up the difference (half a length) – it makes for a fascinating race.”
With the Lonsdale Cup one of a handful of top class races next week, Derby is aware that the eyes of the racing world will be fixed upon Stradivarius’ bid for glory.
He added: “It’s really exciting stuff. I went to the launch of the bonus back in April and there was a huge amount of scepticism, not unreasonably, about whether the bonus was realistic, let along achievable, so for a horse to be in contention going into the last leg in its first year is amazing.
“We’re hugely proud and excited to be staging the last leg and I think it will be an interesting race.”