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Friday, 19 October, 2018

Taking cover: Weatherbys Hamilton leaving nothing to chance as £1m payout looms

Weatherbys Hamilton chief executive Charles Hamilton is set to sign a £1 million cheque if Stradivarius, pictured behind him, wins at York
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Weatherbys Hamilton is an insurance broker.

Chief executive Charles Hamilton, who therefore knows all about insurance, will need to sign a £1 million cheque if Stradivarius wins the Lonsdale Cup at York on August 24.

Fortunately, and not surprisingly, it seems the company has itself acquired some insurance.

"We've taken a certain amount of protective action," said Hamilton in Goodwood's winner's enclosure after Stradivarius completed the third part of a four-step journey to a WH Stayers' Million bonus that could well now be plundered in its first year.

Star stayer: John Gosden’s Stradivarius (far side) gets the better of old foe Torcedor in the Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup for jockey Andrea Atzeni and owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen

"We're on starvation rations for the foreseeable future," noted Hamilton, whose firm is also sponsoring the £225,000 Lonsdale Cup, to which Stradivarius most definitely heads after adding Goodwood Cup success to his earlier victories in the Yorkshire Cup and Gold Cup.

A Knavesmire triumph will mean £700,000 heading to owner Bjorn Nielsen, with £300,000 then divided between all the others involved in the story of the Flat racing's new star marathon runner.

Qatar Goodwood Cup, replay, result and analysis

"It's fantastic," said Hamilton. "If you're going to do something like this you want it to be won.

"My chairman, Roger Weatherby, and I were having a cup of tea at the December Sales. Bloodstock insurance is very important to us and we were thinking of ways of reinforcing that and also doing something for racing.

"We thought the stayers would be a very good vehicle for that. It's just our luck we've this year come across some really good stayers, and Stradivarius is obviously absolutely top class."

Deserved drink: John Gosden’s travelling head lad Tony Procter holds a bucket of water for Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius

Hamilton added: "We had our knockers at the start. They said the bonus would be impossible to win. However, if you look back, there were horses who didn't necessarily run in the same sequence of races but who probably had the ability to do it.

"We very much want the bonus to become part of the racing scene. If we can keep it going then, in conjunction with what the BHA and Thoroughbred Breeders Association are doing for stayers, plus the Ebor and Cesarewitch becoming £1 million races, I think the total effect will be very powerful and we'll raise the profile of these horses."

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We had our knockers at the start. They said the bonus would be impossible to win
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