John Gosden: I wish we'd been handier and not had to go around a wall of horses

Kyprios (Ryan Moore,3rd from left) wins the Gold CupRoyal Ascot 16.6.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Stradivarius (right) has to come wide in the straight to mount his challenge in the Gold CupCredit: Edward Whitaker

Stradivarius was unable to join Yeats as the most successful horse in Gold Cup history and John Gosden cut a frustrated figure as he wondered what might have been had Frankie Dettori been "a little handier and not had to go around a wall of horses" on the luckless legend.

The evergreen eight-year-old continued to defy his age with another valiant attempt at making history but at the end of the lung-bursting marathon he couldn't get him by the younger legs of Kyprios, or Mojo Star for that matter.

The reason for Gosden's frustration was the traffic problems Stradivarius endured up the home straight as he had to switch out not once but twice and, when he did get a glimpse of clear daylight, Kyprios had got first run.

Gosden stressed that he would have preferred to see Dettori sit closer to the pace and rued the fact that a good early position was sacrificed.

'I was a bit surprised we dropped back so far'

He said: "There are younger horses there who were first and second, but I just wish we had been a little handier and not had to go around a wall of horses.

"I was a bit surprised after being in the box seat that we dropped back so far. The problem is, when they sprint you've got to get a run and he had to come widest of all, so his head was turned around to get a run. He had a chance in the last furlong but the race has just slipped away on him. They had gone a pretty steady old pace."

When asked straight out whether Stradivarius should have won, Gosden replied: "I'm not ever going to say that. Full marks to the winner and the second, I say. They are younger horses coming through."

He added: "I think the trouble is they went no pace, he has got down on the inside and had to come around the whole lot. It has turned into a bit of a dash, so it wasn't exactly a two-and-a-half-mile test. He only had two behind him with two to run and he then had to switch out and get his head turned around to get a run. You're giving ground away doing that."

Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori finish third in the Gold Cup Royal Ascot 16.6.22 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Stradivarius finished third on his fifth Gold Cup start under Frankie Dettori on ThursdayCredit: Edward Whitaker

Dettori did not seem to think Stradivarius was as unfortunate as Gosden did.

He said: "He's run a great race. It got a bit messy when I had to switch, but the younger horses had more legs than me at the end. I had every chance to get them, but they were stronger than me. But it's been a good era for him."

On his passage in the home straight, he added: "I had to pull out for a run, that's the only place I could go because everything was getting tight, but when I pulled him out, he had plenty of time.

"Usually he had the electric turn of foot when he was young but he's not four anymore, he's eight. I laboured a bit at the end and I was never going to get them."

Stradivarius was beaten a total of a length and a quarter at the line, but it was hard not to wonder what might have been with a smoother passage.

Dettori will have to face the Ascot stewards on Friday too. They wished to hold an inquiry into his use of the whip on Stradivarius in the aftermath of the race but were unable to do so he will have to face the music on Coronation Stakes day instead.

Gold Cup result and race replay

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David JenningsDeputy Ireland editor
Published on 16 June 2022Last updated 19:55, 16 June 2022