In what is potentially his last hurrah at the famed racecourse, Stradivarius has the opportunity to make it six from six at York when he lines up in the Lonsdale Cup Stakes this Friday. Having won the Group 2 contest on three previous occasions, the John and Thady Gosden-trained horse will enter the two-mile affair as the horse racing odds favourite at 5/4 – odds that will likely shorten if the ever-present danger Trueshan doesn’t run due to issues with conditions under foot.
This year’s Lonsdale Cup Stakes will look and feel a little bit different for fans of the eight-year-old, with the Gosdens’ public and acrimonious split in June ensuring that Hall of Fame jockey Frankie Dettori won’t be aboard Stradivarius as he bids for a record fourth win in the £142,000 fixture.
While Dettori’s form was particularly poor at Royal Ascot, many believe it’s harsh to prevent the 51-year-old the chance to achieve further York success with Stradivarius. Despite reigning supreme in the same race together in 2018, 2019 and 2021, it’s apparent that the once great double-act of Dettori and Strad are no more.
Instead, fellow countryman Andrea Atzeni is set to ride the durable stayer, whose most recent outing atop him in the Goodwood Cup saw the pair lose narrowly to foe Kyprios in a race of the year contender. With it possibly being his last race at York, let’s dissect the two horses best positioned to foil the all-time great’s swansong this weekend.
This six-year-old French horse has had an exceptional 12 months, having secured wins at Goodwood, Longchamp, Ascot and Nottingham since July of last year. He followed that rich vein of form with a solid performance in the Goodwood Cup, finishing third behind Stradivarius and eventual winner Kyprios.
While he has been entered in the Lonsdale Cup Stakes and currently sits as the second favourite to win the race – at the time of writing – his trainer Alan King was still undecided as to whether his six-year-old would run at York, citing weather as the determining factor.
“He’s ticking away and we’re just going to see what the gods send us,” he said. “We got away with it at Goodwood on good ground, but I won’t be running him on it this time.
“He doesn’t need it to be really testing, but it’ll need to be on the slow side for him to take his chance and I don’t want to test him on quick again.
“There’s nothing we can do about the weather at the moment though, but he’s due another battle with Stradivarius.
“If he doesn’t go, I’d have thought it’d be the similar route to last season. We’ve just entered him in the Prix du Cadran, then it would be to Ascot at the end of the year.”
Known for his ability to hold on late down the stretch, the Andrew Balding-trained five-year-old will need to be at his absolute best if he is to dethrone last year’s champion Stradivarius. However, he has shown glimpses of his overall potential on many occasions, with impressive victories at Sandown and Ascot in June of this year.
If the Irish thoroughbred can establish a strong start and display all of his finishing ability down the straight, his 4/1 York racing betting odds could be of value.