More York celebrations for Frankie Dettori and Stradivarius
More York celebrations for Frankie Dettori and Stradivarius

York Friday review: Stradivarius wins again


A review of the action from Friday's meeting at York where Stradivarius took his York record to six from six.

Brilliant Stradivarius wins again

Stradivarius gained a 20th career success and made it a perfect six wins from six races at York with victory in the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup under Frankie Dettori.

It was a record-breaking performance from Bjorn Nielsen’s eight-year-old, who moved sweetly to the front before finding enough in the end to land his 18th European Group-race victory.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained entire sat fourth early on behind the pace-setting Thunderous and Franny Norton.

When the pace quickened, Stradivarius briefly hit a flat spot but was soon back on the bridle and Dettori eased him through a gap between the leader and Max Vega with three furlongs to run.

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He hit top stride with a quarter of a mile left to travel, but the 6/4 favourite idled once hitting the front as he drifted to the stands rail and had to dig deep as Thunderous fought back.

Yet he had a length to spare at the line from the gallant 17/2 runner-up and will now head to Royal Ascot in a bid to land a fourth Gold Cup, for which he was cut to 3/1 by Betfair and Paddy Power. However Sky Bet go 5/1.

Their Head of Sports PR Michael Shinners said: "Stradivarius made it six from six at York with an excellent performance. He showed he still retains plenty of ability and we now go 5/1 from 6/1 for the Ascot Gold Cup."

The son of Sea The Stars returned to a huge reception from the Knavesmire crowd, after what was a third Yorkshire Cup win.

Gosden senior said: “He hit a little but of a flat spot and the next thing you know, he got Frankie there too soon. It was tremendous, he’s a great one for the crowds, isn’t he? Someone asked me what it was like and I said ‘it’s like Desert Orchid’. It’s great to be six from six on the Knavesmire and be the leading Group-winning horse of all time in Europe, that takes some doing

“As long as the ground doesn’t go soft or heavy then we hope to go on to Ascot which has always been the plan – one run, then Ascot. We always said here, Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood. That, hopefully, is our season, we’ll see.

“He’s a real character and it’s lovely to win that and give weight, he gave 6lb to the good filly (Search For A Song) and 3lb to everything else. Let’s hope we can get to Ascot and the ground’s not too deep, I think if he had this ground he’d take a lot of beating.”

Another moment to savour for the Stradivarius team
Another moment to savour for the Stradivarius team

He added: “He’s an eight-year-old entire, if he was an eight-year-old gelding it would be a different ball game. He’s done well mentally to get himself there, he knows the gallops and he knows everything backwards. I’m quite careful with the way I train him, if you tried to rub his nose in it he’d tell you what to do with the game.

“He was a bundle of fun to saddle, on his hind legs, every time he saw a filly he started showing off but he came over here and he was a professional as ever.”

Dettori, who was in flying dismount form, said: “John and Thady have got to take all the credit really. They changed different things to get him interested – worked him from the front and the back, taken him to different places, just to get him motivated as he’s been going on those gallops for six years. I thought we had him fit, but until you try you don’t know because he looks after himself. He looked the same as he usually does, travelled with zest and showed a good turn of foot and then he pulls up in front, but we know he does that.

“My mouth is a bit dry and I’m emotional, but what an incredible story. All roads lead to Ascot for one more roll of the dice. Let’s hope the ground stays dry.”

Burke dominates the Marygate

Pillow Talk, selected by both Matt Brocklebank in his Value Bet column and the Punting Pointers team, led home a one-two for North Yorkshire trainer Karl Burke in the Listed Knights Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes at York.

Sent off a 5/1 chance, Pillow Talk raced prominently on the far side of the track for Danny Tudhope after being nicely away in the five-furlong heat. Primrose Ridge down the middle of the track and Lucy Lightfoot on the stands side set the early gallop but paid for their efforts in the final couple of furlongs as Yahsat (7/2) set sail for home.

Stablemate Pillow Talk soon set out in pursuit and the pair had it between them in the closing stages, with Tudhope’s mount edging it by a neck on the line. Jumbeau kept on for third, beaten two and three-quarter lengths.

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Paddy Power and Paddy Power go 14/1 about Pillow Talk for the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race in which Burke already has another leading hope in Dramatised for the same Clipper Logistics connections.

Burke said of his Knavesmire pair: “They’re two very high-class fillies, it’s just a shame we had to run them against each other but that’s the way it is, different owners have got to take their chances. They’ve both got black type which is the main thing. Where we go with this filly, I suppose she should be aiming for the Queen Mary but the owners have another filly ahead of this one at home (Dramatised). At the moment you’d put her in front of these on home work.

“Dramatised goes straight to the Queen Mary, it’s just a question of where we go with this filly now. Yahsat could step up to six if you wanted but she’s got a lot of speed as well, she’s got a different owner so she probably would take her chance in the Queen Mary.”

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On the possibility of Pillow Talk going six furlongs at Ascot for the Albany Stakes, Burke said: “She could go six furlongs, but I asked Danny that question and he wasn’t very definitive so we’d probably stick to five. Nice problems to have. All winter the horses have run well and it’s just carried on into the spring and hopefully the summer now. We’ve still got some very nice two-year-olds to run at home so there’s lots to look forward to.

“Earlier on I was watching the string, especially the fillies, and I had to ask the lads twice what they were all called because I seem to have a lot of speedy, strong, bay two-year-old fillies. It’s turned out that way, they look quick. Even Jungle Time, who I took my eye off, she stayed on well to be sixth after missing the kick. She deserved to take her chance and there’s more to come.”

Pillow Talk (grey silks, centre) wins the Marygate
Pillow Talk (grey silks, centre) wins the Marygate

Burke’s superb run of form continued in the Paddy Power “Fill Thi Boots” Handicap as Al Qareem struck from the front to prevail by a length and a quarter at 9/2.

Ridden by Clifford Lee for owners Nick Bradley Racing, the consistent gelding produced another admirable performance to make all of the running.

“It was a great ride, he’s always been very good from the front has Clifford, he knows our horse well and he’s given him a lovely ride,” said Burke.

Al Qareem powers to victory
Al Qareem powers to victory

“We were a little bit worried, there were four or five I thought could go and make the running and I said to Clifford ‘don’t make it just for the sake of it, just jump positive and see where you land’.

“He’s landed in front and I was very happy after a couple of furlongs. All being well he’ll go to Royal Ascot for the mile-and-a-half three-year-old race (King George V Stakes) and maybe come back here for the Melrose, onwards and upwards from there.”

Lee and Burke were also on the scoresheet with Korker, who obliged favourite-backers at 4/1 in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap.

Bandito strikes again for Horton

Il Bandito recorded a second successive victory when landing the Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap for James Horton and PJ McDonald.

The four-year-old was a winner at Ripon in April and followed up on the Knavesmire when victorious by a neck as the 4/1 joint-favourite.

Horton, who was enjoying his fifth and highest-profile winner since taking out his licence, said: “Coming to Group One tracks with horses is what John and Jess (Dance, owners) are in it for and I’m delighted to supply them with a winner here this early on.

“I thought PJ gave him a belting ride. He got over to that rail and I think that was probably helping him up the straight.

“He was in front a long way out, but in fairness he toughed it out and battled all the way to the line.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does to him and go from there.”

Double delight for Pointers team

Tim Easterby’s Bollin Joan edged out hot favourite Rogue Bear in a thrilling climax to the Paddy Power “I Love Steak” Stakes, competing a double for the Punting Pointers team who selected him at 28/1 on Friday morning.

The latter was a 13/8 chance to open his account for the campaign after finishing third in the Lincoln at Doncaster and the Spring Cup at Newbury.

Dropped out last for much of the way by Jack Mitchell, Rogue Bear raced keenly throughout and was delivered with what looked like a winning run inside the final two furlongs.

But 12/1 shot Bollin Joan, turning out just five days after finishing down the field at Hamilton, refused to bend under Duran Fentiman and clung on by a head.

Easterby said: “She’s a wonderful filly. She ran on Sunday at Hamilton and I think she ran just a little bit free through the race and didn’t get home. She wants to come late though – just come on the line. Some horses can stand being run back-to-back, some can’t, she’s seasoned and she likes it here. We’ll just take the races as they come with her.”

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Listed joy for Fonteyn

Kevin Ryan’s Fonteyn landed Listed honours in taking the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes for Andrea Atzeni and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. The three-year-old was placed on both her juvenile starts and finished the runner-up when contesting a Newmarket maiden in April and coming home a neck behind Juddmonte’s smartly-bred Crenelle.

A 6/1 chance on the Knavesmire as a result, the daughter of Farhh travelled in the centre of the field and hit the front with two furlongs to go, ultimately holding off 13/8 favourite Grande Dame by a head.

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Ryan said: “We didn’t think she did everything right at Newmarket and the front two were well clear. There was no point winning a little maiden, so I spoke to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and he was in full agreement that we should come here for a Listed race and it’s paid off.

“We think an awful lot of her and it’s no surprise she’s gone and done that. I have nothing in mind. I’ll speak to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. This was our first target and now we’ve got that out of the way we can now plan the rest of the campaign. She’s still learning. There’s plenty of time as the year goes on.”

Fonteyn strikes under Andrea Atzeni
Fonteyn strikes under Andrea Atzeni


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