Stradivarius completes perfect season | QIPCO British Champions Day report

Frankie Dettori celebrates in his usual style

Stradivarius landed his fifth win from five starts in 2018 partly in thanks to an inspired ride from Frankie Dettori in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

The son of Sea The Stars has been a star all season for John Gosden, winning the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup - in which he earned connections a whopping £1million bonus - before his fifth victory of the campaign on Saturday.

The softest ground he has faced all season was an unknown variable and partly why he was sent off as big as even-money favourite, but he defied conditions to win in style.

A stop-start gallop could've worked against him as well, but as Ryan Moore peeled off the rail on closest market rival Flag Of Honour turning for home, Dettori bustled his way up the inside in a decisive move.

With the Ballydoyle pair brushed aside it was left for Thomas Hobson, a little short of room as Stradivarius came across him, to make him work the hardest. But he couldn't make serious inroads and was a length-and-a-half away from a celebrating Dettori crossing the line.

Dettori said: "I had half a chance and took it, but you can only do that when you have plenty of horse.

"He's been a model of consistency and owns the crown of being champion stayer - you can't take it away from him.

"He's all heart, this horse."

Gosden was full of praise for Dettori's winning efforts.

"I said 'the ground is one thing, but we are going to get put in a box drawn in stall one - and he will have to be Houdini to get out of it' - but he did.

"He saw that glimpse on the bend and dived for it.

"Ryan (Moore, on Flag Of Honour) tried to shut it - but thank goodness ,it was too late."

On Stradivarius, the trainer added: "He is a fabulous horse that didn't like the ground, Frankie said.

"What a clever ride. We committed sooner than we wanted on ground we didn't like, but we did a bit of a hack canter.

"I wouldn't have brought him here if he wasn't in great order.

"(Owner) Bjorn (Nielsen) and I had a long conversation out on the pavement for 15 minutes after I walked the course, and it was touch and go whether we ran him. I said 'it's Champions Day, and we should run'.

"Full marks to the jockey and horse for being brave enough to go through the gap.

"We don't run until next May for either the Sagaro or Yorkshire Cup."

Mullins said of his runner-up: "He ran a cracker.

"We are delighted. I thought Oisin (Murphy) gave him a super ride. He is full of guts. He stuck to the plan, and it nearly came off.

"We had one plan, and it didn't matter what the pace was. We knew what we were going to do, and it nearly worked.

"We were hoping to be in Melbourne this year. I thought I had him in terrific order. We've all next year to run in these races."

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