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Trainer John Gosden admits a record-equalling fourth Ascot Gold Cup may be beyond Stradivarius

Trainer John Gosden admits a record-matching fourth Ascot Gold Cup may go past Stradivarius, despite winning the Yorkshire Cup for the third time last month

  • Stradivarius aims to match Yeats’ record of four Ascot Gold Cup wins
  • He showed a lot of his old vim when he won the Yorkshire Cup last month
  • But the eight-year-old will be twice as old as three of his nine rivals on Thursday

One last glorious day on the podium he graced for the past five years or one step too far? That is the question with Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup.

Even John Gosden, who trains the eight-year-old with son Thady, seems unsure of what to expect as Stradivarius tries to match Yeats’ record of four wins in the two-and-a-half mile marathon.

After 33 races, 20 of which were wins, Stradivarius still seems to maintain his enthusiasm and showed much of his old vim when he won the Yorkshire Cup for the third time last month. But his legs aren’t getting any younger and he’s twice the age of three of his nine potential opponents, including the strong-looking Kyprios. Training Stradivarius doesn’t get any easier either. Gosden has adapted his routine to keep him interested.

Stradivarius tries Yeats' record of four Gold Cup wins at Royal Ascot.  to match

Stradivarius tries Yeats’ record of four Gold Cup wins at Royal Ascot. to match

At an age when most racehorses of his stature are at stud, it’s difficult to control his libido and keep his mind at work.

“Testosterone is probably the most dangerous drug in the world!” said Gods. “It’s one thing to train an eight-year-old gelding, it’s another to train an eight-year-old full horse.

“He was probably at his peak when he was five, maybe up to six, but at eight you have to face the fact that sometimes it’s like a boxer comes back in the ring too late in his career.

“But he still enjoys his training and everything is running smoothly.”

After winning the Ascot Gold Cup in 2018, 2019 and 2020, as well as the Queen’s Vase in 2017, Stradivarius is chasing a fifth Royal Ascot victory and has ensured that he will be remembered as one of the great stayers.

The win would give Ascot every reason to erect his statue next to that in the paddock of Yeats, who won the Gold Cup for Aidan O’Brien from 2006 to 2009.

Frankie Dettori also hopes to erase the memory of last year’s nightmare when Stradivarius was boxed in by Princess Zoe and finished fourth, with Subjectivist winning the race.

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