Bjorn Nielsen has described Stradivarius as his horse of a lifetime and the owner was rewarded for keeping his ultra-popular stayer in training as an eight-year-old with a third victory in the Group 2 Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup (1m6f) on Friday.
Having captured the 2018 and 2019 renewals, Stradivarius was favourite to make it number three against four younger rivals, including dual Irish St Leger heroine Search For A Song, trained by Dermot Weld.
Regular rider Frankie Dettori soon had Stradivarius in a good rhythm behind the leaders on his seasonal reappearance as Thunderous and Franny Norton took the field along at a solid pace and they were still in front with three furlongs to run.
Dettori asked his mount to quicken up and for a split second another Yorkshire Cup looked in doubt, but he quickly came back on the bridle as his stamina came into play and he hit the front travelling smoothly with a quarter of a mile to go.
From there on it was a case of hands and heels riding and while Thunderous rallied gamely on his inside, Stradivarius wasn’t for catching, crossing the line a length to the good to spark huge cheers from the Yorkshire crowd.
Trainer John Gosden said: “He was a lot of fun to saddle in the stable, virtually on his hind legs. He’s totally unique. As long as the ground doesn’t go soft or heavy we hope to go on to Royal Ascot which was always the plan.
“He’s an eight-year-old entire and it’s a very different thing to training an eight-year-old gelding, I can tell you!
“It’s like with Desert Orchid – these horses do capture the imagination because they have longevity.”
Earlier on the card, Sheikh Obaid’s yellow and black silks were carried to victory abord Fonteyn in the Listed Oak Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes (1m) as Andrea Atzeni guided the Kevin Ryan-trained filly to a head success over favourite Grande Dame.
Steve Parkin, the man behind Clipper Logistics, enjoyed a winner on the Knavesmire on Thursday when Last Crusader captured the Listed Westow Stakes and he bagged another Listed prize in Friday’s opening contest when juvenile filly Pillow Talk claimed the British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes (5f). Both winners were trained by Karl Burke and ridden by Danny Tudhope.