HAVING watched Enable raise the roof at the weekend with a pulsating success in the King George at Ascot, John Gosden saw his other stable star take centre stage at Goodwood with a performance that showed why he too is so popular with the public.
Being in admiration of an equine titan is something the Newmarket trainer knows plenty about – and Stradivarius rewarded his ever-growing legion of supporters with a record-equalling third Qatar Goodwood Cup victory.
Many will have headed to Goodwood for the social experience, but among them would have been a number that flocked to the track to give their backing to the five-year-old – much like the pilgrimage Gosden made 30 years ago to see Desert Orchid win the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Gosden said: “Remember the trainer of the previous race, Mr (David) Elsworth – Elsie is a great mate and he has won it (Lennox Stakes) with Sir Dancealot again.
“Remember a certain grey horse (Desert Orchid), he trained him and it is so important to have these horses. I remember coming back from America and driving four hours to get to see that horse win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the snow.
“I had a cup of tea with Rachel (Hood, wife), then drove four hours back just to be there for that. There are horses like this and they are very moving.”
Though Stradivarius lacks the physical presence of some, he has a heart as big as they come and that, together with an incredible will to win, has seen him become the force he is.
Gosden added: “He is a right clever little street fighter and he puts it in when he has to. He is quite full of himself and was roaring like a bull in the yard at 5.15am tell everyone he was ready. He came down here and is a real professional. He is a very unique horse.
“They are not meant to have four white socks and a white face and be on the neat side.”
Dettori believes it is that fighting spirit that has enabled him to dominate his rivals in the staying division for so long – and one that helps takes the pressure of him when the pair are united on the track.
The Italian said: “With Stradivarius all you have got to do is put him in the fight and you know that he is going to come out on top.
“I might have celebrated 10 yards too soon, but I knew I had it won. What a beautiful little horse. He has got a heart of a lion and the people love him.
“There is a lot of pressure riding him, but when you are on him he is joy to ride, as he is so straightforward.”
Those unable to catch a glimpse of Stradivarius making it eight wins in succession will have at least two more chances to see him race this year, and owner Bjorn Nielsen is keen on keeping him in training next season.
Nielsen will first look towards York on August 23rd, where victory in the Lonsdale Cup will see his pride and joy secure a second Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million bonus.
He said: “York is the target and I imagine he will go to Champions Day afterwards at Ascot. If he is fit and well and keeps his enthusiasm, I would like to keep him in training and have another year with him.
“I think the most important thing when you have a horse like this is to mind them.”
Though Mark Johnston had to settle for second best with Dee Ex Bee, just as he did in the Ascot Gold Cup, and he was full of admiration for Stradivarius in matching the achievements of Double Trigger, who did so much to put the Middleham trainer on the map.
He smiled: “I wish he hadn’t (joined Double Trigger)! All credit to him, he has done it in style.
“He can maybe thank Dee Ex Bee and Cross Counter a bit that nobody can say he has done it in a weak division.
“You can’t take it away from him – these are good Goodwood Cups, there is no doubt about it.”