Stradivarius looks set to race on after showing he still has what it takes to mix it at the highest level during an epic finish to the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.
Though he failed by a neck to hold the burst of 6/4 favourite Kyprios and win the two-mile feature for a fifth time, joint-trainer John Gosden was thrilled with the Bjorn Nielsen-owned eight-year-old entire.
Had he not seen daylight a shade too early under Andrea Atzeni, his handler felt he may have won for a 21st time.
“When he gets there he knows he’s done enough, he was in splendid isolation. It was a great run, a great run, he was just a bit lonely,” said Gosden.
“The race just changed four out, Hollie (Doyle) came quick on Trueshan so then we were on the inside. He was tracking the winner and he’s run an absolute blinder – when the cutaway came he’s gone right and been left with nothing else to race with.
“He hit the front and then he’s inclined to say ‘I’ve done enough’, and he just came back and got him. It would have been lovely if he’d stayed with the others.
“He came in and tried to cover the third horse, which I thought was a sure sign he wasn’t too stressed by it!”
When asked if Stradivarius would remain in training, Gosden replied: “It’s entirely up to the horse and the owner-breeder, it’s not up to me.
“I can only tell them how he is and he’s full of the joys of spring still. If he’d got in a battle, he’d have battled, but he got left on his tod a bit. He ran a huge race.
“He’ll tell me. He looks pretty chilled out. We wanted to get clear run and we got a clear run, we got a bit stranded today but we got a clear run.”
Frankie Dettori lost the ride on Stradivarius having found all sorts of trouble in running in a bid to win the Ascot Gold Cup for a fourth time. It led to Gosden and Dettori having a brief “sabbatical”, but no ill-feeling.
Atzeni deputised, and Gosden added: “I was getting a bit fed up with all the politics. It’s fine. Andrea’s a great friend of his (Dettori). He ran a great race and everyone’s happy, Frankie was in the paddock with us.”