Where else could one start in a top staying race, Stradivarius is the undisputed king of staying races. Winner of 17 races, 15 of them Group races, three Gold Cups and the winner of this race for the last four years. However, his air of invincibility has slipped lately. Only 4th in this years Gold Cup after getting a truly woeful ride by Frankie Dettori (yes even he can get it wrong) however he may not have beaten the winner anyway that day. Stradivarius has won on soft ground before, but he definitely prefers it faster. The Gold Cup was his fourth defeat in his last 5 starts but connections will desperately want him back in the winner’s enclosure today.
His main rival today will be Trueshan trained by Alan King. He missed the Gold Cup because he doesn’t like fast ground and if conditions remain soft, he will be very difficult to beat. His record on Good/Soft or wetter is 4 wins and 2 seconds from 8 starts. Trueshan has only raced over 2 miles twice winning a Group 1 at Ascot on soft ground (Stradivarius well beaten behind) and then on his most recent outing when a good 6th in the Northumberland Plate when carrying a huge weight.
Of the rest Spanish Mission has some good form but may be better on a faster surface. Mark Johnston loves staying races at Goodwood and runs two here, Sir Ron Priestley is always a hard horse to pass, and Nayef Road has some very classy form in the book just not for a while now. Johnstons strike rate of just 8% in the last fortnight is well below normal for the yard and must be cause for concern. The usually feared Irish horses do not look good enough to beat the two favourites this time.
I must confess that Stradivarius is my favourite horse and I desperately hope he wins. However, at his current price and on soft ground taking on a high-class soft ground specialist he must be opposed for betting purposes with Trueshan being the selection. He loves the ground is unexposed at the distance and has some really good form to his name, this is his day.
written by Steve Marriott