VIDEO Stradivarius just misses more Goodwood Cup glory
The 2022 Qatar Goodwood Festival began in memorable style as Stradivarius went so, so close a fairytale fifth win in the Goodwood Cup.
In the end the favourite Kyprios, trained by Aidan O'Brien, had just too much for Stradivarius - beating the John Gosden-trained superstar by a neck to deny him what would have been his fifth win in the race, his tally of four already an all-time record.
The crowd loved it - despite the disappointment of Stradivarius finishing runner-up - and gave the horse a superb reception as he came into the parade ring afterwards. It was surely the best ovation a Goodwood runner-up has ever had, and no-one could say his last lap of the parade ring was not fully deserved.
It may well have been the last the Goodwood crowd will see of Stradivarius but owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen said on ITV: "We're not going to say goodbye after that. There's no point stopping in the middle of season. I'm happy to go on for at least one more run."
Kyprios, sent off a 6-4 favourite to follow up his Gold Cup success, was always well-placed under Ryan Moore. The son of Galileo was in pole position throughout the closing stages and gamely held off valiant four-time victor Stradivarius (9/2) by a neck in a thrilling finish, with last year’s winner Trueshan (2/1) a just over a length further back in third.
It was a third win in the race for trainer O’Brien, who had previously taken the spoils with the outstanding Yeats in 2006 and 2008.
O’Brien said: “Kyprios is a great horse. 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. 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. That is the way he is and the way he has always been. He saves everything and is very professional. 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."
Moore said: “Kyprios has done nothing wrong this year. Today was only his eighth race and he 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. He is a proper Group One horse and Aidan has always had a lot of belief in the horse. At the start of the year, he was saying what he thought he could do, so all credit to him and the team at home for getting him back."
Stradivarius’ owner-breeder Nielsen said: “I was happy with the way Stradivarius ran. I thought half a furlong out he was potentially in front, although it was hard to tell from the angle. Stradivarius and Kyprios were a fair way apart on the racecourse and I don't know if it was competitive enough for him. If he had been upsides, it might have been a different story.
“Andrea [Atzeni] said he was following Kyprios through and he felt like he was going to do him for toe and then he got the bump from Trueshan, which forced him inside. He was in a pocket, but they had the cutaway today so he could go up the inside. When he made his run, I wasn't sure if he would get up.
"We are not going to say goodbye, not when he is at the top of his game and ran like that today. He has still run in the last year or two like he has his enthusiasm. There is no point stopping him in the middle of the season. This is the best Goodwood Cup – it was lined up to be a tremendous race and going into this race today I thought he could win or finish third or fourth. He has run within a head of the Gold Cup winner. I think it was a great performance. We will go on for at least one more."
Gosden said of Stradivarius: “It was superb. Stradivarius was in good form before. He came back in here shouting at Trueshan, so the race didn't stress him too much. We had a lovely position on the inside following Kyprios and then Hollie thought the pace wasn't quick enough, so she moved and we went from the outside to the inside. Our only slight frustration is that, because of that, we had to go down the cutaway, were racing on our own and had nothing left to race with."
Atzeni said: “Stradivarius ran his heart out. The race went quite smoothly and I followed Kyprios. We went a nice pace and four out Trueshan arrived on my outside, but it was a long way from home and I didn't want to wheel him out and get racing early. I made my challenge in the middle of the track and the winner just went away from us. He got a little lonely on his own, but he ran to the line like a champion and you can't take that away from him. There are not many like him.”
The Goodwood Cup was the highlight of a great opening-day card watched by a 13,000-plus crowd, including home secretary Priti Patel. Here are some other headline makers...
Marbaan wins the Vintage Stakes
Marbaan gave Charlie Fellowes the biggest domestic winner of his training career when getting up late to land the G2 Japan Racing Association Vintage Stakes for two-year-olds.
The progressive son of Oasis Dream, sent off a 14/1 chance despite heading to Goodwood on the back of two novice wins, was given a typically patient ride by Jamie Spencer.
Spencer, who last won the Vintage Stakes 20 years ago on Dublin, timed his challenge to perfection, picking off 11/8 market leader Holloway Boy in the final 50 yards to score by half a length. Mysterious Night (9/2) was two lengths further back in third.
Fellowes said: “We have always thought a lot of Marbaan and it was a real boost over the winter to be sent horses by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum. Marbaan has stood out from the get-go.
“He was a really good-looking yearling who has just progressed and progressed. We put him in at the deep end today and I loved it when we got drawn nine of nine, which is exactly what you want to see!"
Lennox win for Sandrine
Sandrine (12/1) bounced back to winning form for Andrew Balding with a gutsy success in the G2 World Pool Lennox Stakes.
Kirsten Rausing’s homebred had run well in top-level mile events this season but the switch back to seven furlongs and drop into G2 company proved an ideal combination.
Sandrine toughed it out late on to hold on by a dwindling neck, bringing up a century of winners this year for her jockey David Probert. Last year’s winner Kinross (4/1) didn’t get the clearest of passages up the inside but finished well to grab second, just ahead of Pogo (6/1).
Balding said: “I am delighted and thrilled for Kirsten Rausing. She is such a great owner and so supportive thankfully, as we had a few options on the table. She was happy to go with what we felt was best and we just wanted to try Sandrine round a bend. She slightly blew the bend in the Coronation Stakes, but I thought she handled it really well today.
The festival began under cloudy skies and a few spots of rain but with a superb win for Frankie Dettori on board the Charlie and Mark Johnston-trained Forest Falcon (14/1) in the Coral Chesterfield Cup Handicap Stakes.
Lord Riddiford (10/1) made it three wins from four starts at the Qatar Goodwood Festival as he swooped home under Jason Hart to win the Nicholson Gin Handicap for the second successive year.
The John Quinn-trained sprinter had looked out of form this season but the net result was that he was able to race off a 1lb lower mark than 12 months ago. And the seven-year-old took full advantage, hitting the front down the middle of the track and scoring comfortably by half a length. Dusky Lord (13/2) ran a big race in second, while the front-running Night On Earth (17/2) held on for third.
The 7/4 favourite Mischief Magic won the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes for William Buick and Charlie Appleby; the Coral Beaten-By-A-Length Free Bet Fillies' Handicap went to Crystal Caprice (5/2 fav) for Moore and Sir Michaek Stoute and the World Pool EBF Fillies' Handicap was claimed by Adaay In Asia (22/1) for Dylan Hogan and Harry Dunlop.
Small screen stars
Some of the most recognisable TV networks in the world are broadcasting this week’s Qatar Goodwood Festival, including, for the first time, ESPN / Disney + in South America and Sony (SPN) in India and the sub-continent.
Racecourse Media Group (RMG) and HBA Media (HBA), working with Goodwood Racecourse, have generated widespread interest in the Festival. Other first-time broadcasters of Goodwood include, Eclat (14 countries in South-East Asia), NENT (Pan-Europe), Polsat (Poland), Setanta (Baltics and Eurasia), Wedotv (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) and Wasu.TV (China).
Audiences in UK and Ireland (ITV, Virgin Media, Racing TV), Africa (Racing 240), Japan (Green Channel), Hong Kong (HKJC, Cable TV, TVB, Now TV) and Australasia (Sky Racing, Trackside) are experiencing racing of the highest order, with the highlight being the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes on July 27.
Broadcast crews from TVG (US), Dubai Racing Channel and Al Kass (Qatar) are there to bring live coverage from the Sussex Downs, in the south of England.
ITV Racing are broadcasting six races every day for UK viewers - one more a day than previous years - showing 30 races across the week.
Ed Arkell, Clerk of the Course and Director of International Racing at Goodwood Racecourse, said: "The Qatar Goodwood Festival is five days of top-class international racing in one of the most picturesque backdrops you could imagine for any sporting event. We are delighted to have secured around 30 broadcasters, including seven new broadcasters, whose viewers will experience riveting racing and a social occasion like no other.”
Meantime catch up with some tips and the rest of our build-up at the links below...