Third Gold Cup for super Stradivarius at Royal Ascot

Stradivarius produced a scintillating performance to make history by becoming just the third horse to win three successive Gold Cups at Royal Ascot.

Frankie Dettori bided his time, on rain-softened ground which was thought to be unsuitable for John Gosden’s remarkable staying superstar, before closing on long-time leader and eventual runner-up Nayef Road and then streaking clear to win by 10 lengths.

Doubts were sown about the hat-trick bid as rain continued to pour up until almost race time – but Stradivarius, in the black and yellow colours he has made famous for owner Bjorn Nielsen, was having none of it.

The six-year-old, sent off as the 4-5 favourite, made those odds look increasingly generous as he settled in midfield behind the pace set by Nayef Road and Withhold and then coasted into a winning position, with Dettori evidently oozing confidence.

It proved well-placed once the Italian crowd-pleaser said ‘go’ – and Dettori was able to salute the achievement on passing the post in isolation, before then serving up his trademark flying dismount on returning to the winner’s enclosure, despite the absence of crowds in this coronavirus-ridden year.

Stradivarius has equalled the achievement of the race’s fellow Gold Cup hat-trick heroes Sagaro and Yeats – although the latter still stands alone, having won four in succession for Aidan O’Brien.

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