Road To The Arc : Stradivarius

Champion stayer Stradivarius will be a live contender for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

STRADIVARIUS winning the Ascot Gold Cup at Ascot in England.
STRADIVARIUS winning the Ascot Gold Cup at Ascot in England. Picture: Megan Ridgwell/Pool via Getty Images

Stradivarius is a Champion stayer and one of the most intriguing contenders in the 2020 G1 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe (2400m).   

Just like stablemate Enable, Stradivarius broke his maiden as a juvenile on the all-weather surface at Newcastle in November 2016 under the floodlights. Spectators were unaware that they were witnessing a champion in the making.  

As a three-year-old Stradivarius returned with a victory in a handicap at Beverley (2000m) and looked like a name for the notebook. Success in the G2 Queen's Vase (2800m) at Royal Ascot was followed by a first win in the G1 Goodwood Cup (3200m) at Glorious Goodwood and a third in the G1 St Leger (2900m) at Doncaster behind Capri.   

In 2018, Stradivarius was able to shine and dominate the staying division. He remained unbeaten in five starts including the G1 Ascot Gold Cup (4000m) at Royal Ascot and a second G1 Goodwood Cup (3200m). Success in the G2 Lonsdale Cup at York (3200m) marked the completion of a new million-pound bonus scheme in the UK to encourage and attract stayers to compete at the top level. It was a programme of eat, sleep, win, repeat for Stradivarius as he ended the season with a one and a half-length victory in the G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup (3200m) at Ascot on soft ground.   

It was a similar story in 2019. Wins in the G2 Yorkshire Cup (2800m), G1 Goodwood Cup (3200m) and G1 Ascot Gold Cup (4000m) alongside a second million-pound bonus which confirmed Stradivarius' position at the top of the staying division. Even a narrow defeat in the G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup (3200m) did little to harm the horse's reputation.  

Like 2020 itself, this season has been mixed and unconventional for the champion stayer. Rescheduling forced connections to drop in trip on seasonal reappearance, finishing third in the G1 Coronation Cup (2400m) at Newmarket (usually held at Epsom Downs). Royal Ascot may have lacked spectators but Stradivarius was able to produce one of the most visually impressive performances scoring by ten lengths in the G1 Ascot Gold Cup (4000m) before achieving an historic third victory in the G1 Goodwood Cup (3200m).  

Last Sunday he ventured to France for his first race start in the G2 Prix Foy (2400m). Settling behind the leader in a small field of six, he stayed on in the closing stages of the race but was held by the winner.    

With regular jockey Frankie Dettori favouring 'Queen of the Turf' Enable, Stradivarius will have to forge a new partnership in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The narrow defeat in the G2 Prix Foy (2400m) at Paris Longchamp has demonstrated that the horse has the turn of foot required for an 'Arc'. The question is however, can the champion stayer become a middle-distance master? Given it is John Gosden training it is safe say that any horse he presents for a feature race can never be dismissed.    

        Number of runs   Win strike rate   Place strike Rate
Black type races  19  14 = 74%  5 = 26% 
Longchamp  1 = 100% 
Righthanded  16  10 = 62%  5 = 31% 
Distance  3 = 100% 

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