A round-up of the action from day three of the Dante Festival at York as Stradivarius strengthened his Royal Ascot claims.
Dettori pulls strings on Stradivarius
Stradivarius reinforced his staying credentials with a most impressive success in the Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup, prompting Sky Bet to cut him to 11/4 for Royal Ascot next month.
John Gosden's charge was sent off the 4/6 favourite and Frankie Dettori's mount treated his rivals with contempt down the long home straight on the Knavesmire.
Dettori allowed himself a look between his legs over a furlong out and when he asked him to go and win his race, Desert Skyline and Call To Mind had no response.
"He's a star - it's very rare you get a stayer with a turn of foot, but that is what he has got. It's a deadly combination," said Dettori.
"It is a great weapon to have over this distance and he's a force to be reckoned with now."
Third in the St Leger and only a length behind Order Of St George at Ascot on Champions day, Stradivarius is set to renew rivalry with Aidan O'Brien's ace in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June.
Dettori added: "He is the young pretender in the Gold Cup, with fresh legs, and he's on the way up."
Gosden, who had already won the Middleton Stakes and the Dante this week, said: "That was a proper test first time back and I haven't been working him like that, I can assure you.
"Willie Mullins came to make it a proper test (with Wicklow Brave). He'd only done bridle work so I couldn't be more happy. He's bred by his owner and it's important these people have success."
Looking to Ascot, he said: "I promise you I can't practice over two and a half miles (Gold Cup trip) at home, so the answer to if he will stay we'll find out when they turn for home. We'll go for the Gold Cup, but it's uncharted territory.
"He switches off and the freshness is out of him, so if you relax and switch off you've got a chance. It was a tough race, they went hard."
The victory also qualifies Stradivarius to challenge for the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers Million, a bonus he would land if he could claim the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup.
Gosden said: "It's good, isn't it - we've now got the big hurdle (Gold Cup), that was the little hurdle!"
David Elsworth said of runner-up Desert Skyline: "He's a tough individual, but he wants to go faster and further. We'll leave him until the Gold Cup now, and he should have a good chance."
Threading back with a bang
Threading ran out a wide-margin winner of an incident-packed Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies' Stakes at York.
Mark Johnston's filly won the Lowther on the Knavesmire last season, but in two appearances since she had run to nothing like that form. Whether she had to do that on this occasion is up for debate, too, as two of her rivals were withdrawn at the start.
William Haggas' Awesometank was not keen on going into the stalls and the delay she caused meant favourite Sheikha Reika got upset and was also withdrawn.
It was a nasty incident, but thankfully Roger Varian's filly was reported to be none the worse. That left Threading (7/2) with just three to beat and she did so in emphatic style under William Buick.
"I think her performance was impressive, she got down low and quickened up well," said Buick.
Johnston indicated a Classic tilt could be on the agenda for the daughter of Exceed And Excel.
He said: "I'm relieved, really. We never wanted to blame the track for her two performances at Newmarket, but maybe we will have to watch those two races again now.
"The race fell apart at the start, but the second horse (Dance Diva) is highly rated and she (Threading) pulled well clear. She's back, and William said she was very relaxed all the way. We definitely won't be coming back to sprinting now. The Irish Guineas is the first one we'll think about."
Ascot next for Cabello
Signora Cabello is set for Royal Ascot after running out a clear-cut winner of what looked a competitive field for the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies' Stakes at York.
Several youngsters arrived defending unbeaten records in the five-furlong Listed affair, but it was John Quinn's daughter of Camacho who came home strongest of all. Only fourth on her debut at Beverley, she made the long journey down to Bath last time out where she broke her maiden.
Ridden by Jason Hart, who also teamed up with Quinn to win at York on Thursday with El Astronaute, Signora Cabello was a 20/1 victor and now has the Queen Mary at the Royal meeting as a logical aim.
Quinn said: "She won well at Bath and has blossomed since then. She's got a great pedigree and there's no reason not to go (Royal Ascot). She's won on merit."
He added: "We've always liked her. She was unlucky on her debut at Beverley - she was stuck in the stalls for eight minutes - and then she won well at Bath, which was a strong race. She's quite a smart filly. Next stop the Queen Mary."
David Menuisier's Thundering Blue looked a cut above his rivals in the Equinity Technology Handicap.
Andrea Atzeni was keen to hold on to his mount as first Titus and then Banditry went for home, but the 3/1 favourite was not hard pressed to win.
"What a race, he's an absolute superstar," said Menuisier.
"We'll see how high he can go. Ascot is on the agenda and I'd like to hope by the end of the year he's up to better things.
"He's a massive turn of foot, but it takes him a while to use it. He's wintered very well and is a stronger horse this year. I'm thinking of the Duke of Edinburgh as he's craving to go further."