Kyprios wins Gold Cup as Stradivarius falls short of record fourth victory

Dubai’s Team Godolphin pick up another Royal Ascot victory with Secret State

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Kyprios, ridden by Ryan Moore, wins the Royal Ascot Gold Cup on Thursday. — Reuters
Kyprios, ridden by Ryan Moore, wins the Royal Ascot Gold Cup on Thursday. — Reuters

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 11:45 PM

It’s always heartbreaking when a horse that has been a part of racing folklore loses and, even worse, when it happens in a big race, a race as iconic as the Royal Ascot Gold Cup.

Stradivarius, the superstar stayer and one of the all-time greats of British racing with a record 18 Group victories on his CV, was bidding to emulate Yeats and win the prestigious two-mile and four-furlong contest for a fourth time.

But luck deserted the eight-year-old son of Sea The Stars, who finished third behind the winner, Kyprios, despite producing a gallant late effort under his regular rider, the legendary Frankie Dettori.

The Gold Cup was, in all probability, Stradivarius’ swansong, but he will always be remembered for his big race haul that includes four Goodwood Cups, three Lonsdale Cups, three Yorkshire Cups, two Doncaster Cups as well as the Queen’s Vase and British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Team Godolphin who drew a blank on Wednesday, got back on the leaderboard when Secret State and William Buick landed the King George V Stakes (Heritage Handicap), a contest that they were winning for the fourth time after Atty Verse (2017), Space Age (2016) and Elite Army (2014).

The two Group 2 contests on Ladies’ Day at the historic Berkshire course, Norfolk Stakes and Ribblesday Stakes went to The Ridler (Paul Hanagan/Richard Fahey) and Magical Lagoon (Shane Foley/Mrs. John Harrington) respectively.

However, the story of the day revolved around the Gold Cup, a race that was founded in 1870 and is the second-longest race at the five-day meeting.

While Stradivarius may have been the crowd favourite, there was no getting away from the performance of the Irish-trained Kyprios, who is rapidly emerging as a serious staying horse.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, one of the sharpest judges of pace in the business, the son of Galileo benefitted from the slow pace to come home a decisive half-length winner over Mojo Star, who was second in the Derby and St Leger last year, with the fast-finishing Stradivarius three-quarters of a length, further back.

In a repeat of last year’s Gold Cup Stradivarius and his rider, Frankie Dettori was caught behind horses turning for home, with his rider opting to come around the field to throw down his challenge.

Moore, who won the race back in 2016 aboard Order of St. George, told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s a lovely horse, he’s from a great family.

“He’s done that despite it being a bit messy and we had to make our challenge out wide. He’s a lightly-raced horse so hopefully there’s more to come.

Winning handler Aidan O’Brien, who was picking up a ninth Gold Cup, commented: “It’s a difficult race to win and get a horse that can go that extra distance. He’s a horse we can look forward to.”

Dettori, one of the masters of the game and still riding at his peak as he showed when winning the Dubai World Cup aboard Country Grammer in Dubai this year, said: “I ran into a pocket turning for home. When you get stopped in a two-and-a-half-mile race, you never get going again.

“We were beaten by younger horses, with fresher legs. I don’t think going on the outside affected the outcome of the race.”

Gosden, looking a tad grim but remaining ever philosophical, added: “It didn’t work out exactly,

“We were an awfully long way back and Frankie couldn’t get out when he wanted to. You need these races to go right but full marks to the winner. I thought he was mightily impressive.”

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