Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes (Group 1)

KYPRIOS (Aidan O’Brien/Ryan Moore) confirmed Gold Cup form from Ascot by edging out Stradivarius (John and Thady Gosden/Andrea Atzeni) in an unforgettable renewal of the Group 1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, a race enriched by the presence of Trueshan (Alan King/Hollie Doyle) despite going on the fast side of good.

The pendulum swung more than once in the straight, with Doyle moving up on Trueshan to put Stradivarius in a pocket early in the straight, as Kyprios – who was ridden very handily throughout – made the best of his way home.


Trueshan then launched a challenge which looked dangerous. Kyprios had just turned him away when Stradivarius, belatedly out of trouble, finished with a flourish to get alongside, or perhaps just in front of Kyprios well inside the last, only for the latter to rally near the line, passing the post a neck to the good, with Trueshan a length and a quarter back in third.

Each of the three threatened to win at some point in the last two furlongs, and the finish was what the word pulsating was coined for.

Kyprios, sent off the 6/4 favourite, was given a copybook ride by Moore, tracking the front-running Thunderous before edging ahead early in the straight. Moore was able to commit while keeping a bit back, and that was needed to repel the late thrust of the evergreen Stradivarius.


The runner-up has been here before many times, and he needs no excuse for going out on his shield, and retirement seems to have been put on the back-burner for a while, with owner Bjorn Nielsen saying it would be foolish to draw stumps mid-season with this effort right up with his best.

The Lonsdale Cup is probably next up for him, and Nielsen even hinted that Frankie Dettori might be invited back into the fold for that contest.

Trueshan didn’t fully back up his big handicap performance at Newcastle, but ran well on balance and while Hollie Doyle was clever in putting Atzeni in a pocket, which forced her to wait again before asking for everything, and he is a horse who probably needs to be asked for one sustained run, lacking the tactical speed of the pair who beat him, rather than the stamina.

This represented a third win in the race for Aidan O’Brien after wins for Yeats in 2006 and 2008. The win was a narrow one, but the winning trainer believes his ascendant star had something in hand. “Kyprios is a great horse,” he said. “Ryan gave him a beautiful ride and he is only ever in the gear that you want him. He is always keeping plenty and is a horse that loves a battle.

First gear

“He is lazy and if you want him to stay in first gear, he will stay in first gear and not go into second gear unless you want him. I’d say there’s a lot more to come. He loves racing, is easy on himself and the plan from here is to go to the Irish St Leger.

“He has a lot of class, a lot of quality. He has run over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot… but we would have had no problem starting him over a mile and a quarter at the start of the year, as he has that real pace…. It’s great to have him. Those type of horses are very special.”

Ryan Moore was of similar opinion: “Kyprios… is only doing what he has to do. It was a steadily run race, and he was in front a long way out. He was just waiting. I always feel that I’m not going to the bottom of him.”