Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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JOHN Gosden has stressed the importance of long-distance races as he prepares dual Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius for the fourth and final leg of the WH Stayers’ Million at York on August 24.
The Stayers’ Million is a £1 million bonus to the winner of four long-distance races in 2018; a nominated race in May, the two miles and four furlongs Grade 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the two miles Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup and the two miles Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes at York next week.
The four-year-old Stradivarius has the chance to secure the lucrative bonus after landing the 14-furlong Group 2 Yorkshire Cup at York in May and then bagging the selected races at Ascot and Goodwood.
At Goodwood he stayed on well to win by half a length under Andrea Atzeni, who stepped in for the suspended Frankie Dettori who is set to reclaim the mount at York.
“I’m very pro the staying races and I like everything they have done to promote fillies’ and mares’ races, including upgrading the [now Grade 2] Lillie Langtry Stakes,” said Newmarket-based Gosden who has now won three Qatar Goodwood Cups (Sonus in 1993 and twice with Stradivarius).
“I’m terrified of racing becoming one-dimensional, for instance one turn and six furlongs, and while I love sprinters you don’t want to watch eight sprints a day,” Gosden said at Goodwood after Stradivarius’ victory.
“You need these long races, and I noticed during the Gold Cup how much the public loved the race and witnessing the spectacle of horses going past the grandstand and out into the back straight. There was so much shouting and cheering.
“We understand the commercial world needs a certain amount of precocity and speed, but I think its’ gone too far that way, and the owner/breeder that produces horses like this is now a rare species. We’re trying to bring that back.”
Meanwhile the ultra-consistent Stradivarius, the winner of almost £1.2 million from seven wins and three places from 12 starts, has continued to please Gosden.
“It’s [the bonus] not been the be-all and end-all of his year. It’s just happened those races have fitted him well and he has come out on top in all of them. So we’ll see. Nothing is simple as it seems; certainly not that with horses running in races. But we’re happy with him at the moment,” the trainer told Racing UK after Stradivarius worked on the Al Bahathri polytrack this week.
“He ran a valiant race in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and he ran a very tidy race in the Goodwood Cup. He has won nicely at York this year – the Yorkshire Cup – so it’s a track he likes. We’re pleased with him at this stage.”
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