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Royal Ascot day three: Superstar Stradivarius claims Gold Cup hat-trick, plus girl power and a treble for one trainer

Top staying horse Stradivarius impressively dominated the Gold Cup by 10 lengths at Royal Ascot today (Thursday, 18 June), his third consecutive win in the Group One race for owner Bjorn Nielsen, trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori.

The six-year-old son of Sea The Stars joins Sagaro (1975, 1976, 1977) as a triple Gold Cup winner with only four-time scorer Yeats having won the 2½-mile staying showpiece more.

It was the most decisive win of Stradivarius’ career. Having moved up effortlessly on the bridle behind long-time leader Nayef Road, Stradivarius went right away in the final furlong and won comfortably. Nayef Road held on for second, eight lengths clear of Cross Counter.

“I had to have an excuse ready [the ground] in case I messed up the training and I get the blame as the trainer,” said John Gosden. “For a horse to do that, I mean Sagaro was trained by a great friend of mine, Francois Boutin, and ridden by Lester Piggott. I remember watching all his races and he was something. Yeats was a phenomenon. To have a horse mentioned in that bracket is what it is all about.

“We are very proud to have won the race three times and it is great for the owner/breeder Bjorn Nielsen. He is passionate about his breeding and broodmares. He has been trying to breed a Derby winner, but he has got a very good Gold Cup horse. For him, it is profoundly fulfilling for him as much as it is for us – it is a pity he can’t be here today.”

He added: “Stradivarius is quite a character. I must change my aftershave, as he got quite coltish while I was saddling him. He is quite a noisy character and he was having a shout and play out there – he does think life is a bit of fun and when you win races like this, I suppose it is.”

Top lady jockey Hayley Turner returned to Royal Ascot 12 months after making history at the Royal meeting in 2019. She partnered the Charlie Fellowes-trained Onassis to a win in the Sandringham Stakes.

“Onassis felt really good,” said Hayley. “She had the perfect profile for the race and Charlie Fellowes told me she would win it about three months ago. She took the conditions really well and took her time. She is a very nice filly and did it easily.”

Newmarket handler Roger Varian enjoyed a treble on day three of the Royal meeting, kicking off with Mountain Angel in the Wolferton Stakes, under James Doyle.

Molatham then claimed the Group Three Jersey Stakes for the Varian yard, under the meeting’s leading jockey Jim Crowley.

“Molatham was very tough,” said Jim. “He had the one run at the backend of last year on soft ground at Newmarket and he didn’t fire. His form before that was very strong. He beat Wichita at Doncaster earlier in the year.

“I had been down to ride him work earlier in the year when we were thinking of the 2000 Guineas. He was working quite lazily at home, but today when the rain had come I was a little bit concerned. However, when you look at his pedigree, it showed that he wouldn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground and the way he moves suggests that too. He handled soft ground well today and maybe at Newmarket last season it was the undulations that caught him out.”

Jim teamed up with Roger Varian once again to steer Khaloosy to victory in the Britannia Stakes, taking the jockey’s total of wins to six so far this week.

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