Glorious Goodwood: Take a bow, Stradivarius

Stradivarius was in no mood to play second fiddle to any of his rivals as he landed a second straight Goodwood Cup on the opening day of Glorious.

The John Gosden-trained four-year-old took the festival’s first Group 1 contest by timing a smart run to see off closest challenger Torcedor and claim the crown for a second year in a row.

It keeps the horse’s connections in the running for a unique £1m four-race bonus which will be theirs if he wins a stayers’ race at York later this month.

Winning jockey Andrea Atzeni, who’d also ridden the Bjorn Nielsen-owned colt in last year’s Goodwood Cup success, on that occasion beating previous double Cup winner Big Orange. said: “Stradivarius is a different horse compared to last year. I remember when I won on him last year, he was quite narrow. He has done a tremendous job as a four-year-old.

“I am in a very lucky position to be here. Unfortunately, Frankie (Dettori) is suspended, but he has been very helpful. This is what it’s all about, these big days.”

Gosden said of the Bjorn Nielsen-owned-and-bred colt: “The pace was a little stop-go, which you would expect at Goodwood when someone is in front and making the running to suit themselves, and to that extent we had work to do to get past him.

Stradivarius gets the better of Torcedor to win the Qatar Goodwood Cup / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Stradivarius gets the better of Torcedor to win the Qatar Goodwood Cup / Picture by Malcolm Wells

“With the Aga Khan’s horse [Vazirabad] not coming for this race, and Order Of St George absent too, Torcedor became the obvious danger, and when Jessie [Harrington] left him in at the six-day stage I thought ‘Oh, we’re in for a battle’, but it proved to produce a fabulous race.”

It was the high point of a successful opening day of the 2018 Qatar Goodwood Festival which was blessed by warm sunshine and a healthy-sized crowd.

The Qatar Lennox Stakes went to 5/1 joint favourite Sir Dancealot for David Elsworth and Gerald Mosse.

Other winners were Alfarris, Dark Vision, Watan, Under The Covers and Move Swiftly.

Today’s feature race is the big one of the week – the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes (3.35pm) which sees a duel between Without Parole, also trained by Gosden, and Expert Eye. See Goodwood updates at www.portsmouth.co.uk

Day one - how it unfolded

Day one tips

Sussex Stakes classic in prospect