Stradivarius all class as he lands third Goodwood Cup victory
John Gosden's pre-race concerns about the softening ground proved unfounded as Stradivarius strode to a third consecutive Qatar Goodwood Cup under man-of-the-moment Frankie Dettori.
Wells Farhh Go took off to hold a significant lead until the home straight but the protagonists, including Stradivarius, battled it out in a thrilling finish.
The 4-5 favourite, who settled in midfield behind Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter, always looked well within his comfort zone and showed his customary turn of foot for a neck win over Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Dee Ex Bee.
Dettori, who was riding his tenth Group 1 winner of a remarkable campaign, told ITV Racing: "He's a push button ride, what a horse he's a jockey's dream. Looking in the paper this morning I thought he was the one to beat, he's back to two miles and the pace was very strong but all I have to do is put him there and he does the rest.
"He's a bit of a boy, he knows he's good and he only does what he needs to do. He'll never be flashy and win by ten lengths but at least doing it this way he's got more chance to stay in training."
The son of Sea The Stars is 2-5 to claim the Weatherbys Stayers Crown Million Bonus again with Paddy Power and could well stay in training next season, according to owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen.
He said: "He's an amazing horse and has a great will to win. He's such a cool horse. Mentally he's so relaxed and I think that's why he's as good as he is, together with having an unbelievable trainer and brilliant jockey. The winning run gets more nerve-wracking as you go on because you realise it's becoming historic. A horse like him comes along for very few people and I'm very lucky."
Gosden added: "He's come and won his race and then our great hero started waving at the crowd. He's [Stradivarius] a little dangerous as he's a pro and when you say 'well that's enough' then he'll say 'okay I'll put the brakes on'. It was lucky Frankie didn't go over the handle bars I thought.
"He knows how to win and when he gets there, I must admit, he thinks he's done enough."
Dee Ex Bee confirmed the Royal Ascot form with another gallant run in second for Mark Johnston and Silvestre de Sousa, while Cross Counter produced another consistent effort in third for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.
The Andrew Balding-trained Dashing Willoughby was the best of the three-year-old contingent in fifth, a neck behind Ballydoyle's Southern France.
This race report is being updated and more news will follow shortly.