Stradivarius receives “quite a lot of e-mails from fans,” his coach John Gosden told AFP, which will surely become a flood if he equals Yeats’s record of four Ascot Gold Cup (2006-09) on Thursday.
The Gold Cup is the flagship race of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting, which will welcome 12,000 spectators a day compared to none last year to lock out the coronavirus pandemic.
Gosden couldn’t be happier with his old warrior, who is running for fifth consecutive success at Royal Ascot when he won the Queen’s vase in 2017 in front of three consecutive Golden Cups.
Gosden, whose other stable star Palace Pier is trying to get him to his dream start in Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes – says he sees similarities between Stradivarius and his 50-year-old superstar jockey Frankie Dettori.
“These are a couple of old boys who get along pretty well,” Gosden told AFP on Sunday.
“The two aren’t quite sitting on deck chairs yet, staring out to sea on the seafront in Brighton.
“They are good athletes despite their combined age.
“Stridivarius is a seven-year-old horse, and I can assure you that Frankie is a full-fledged horse.
“They’re a pretty professional couple, though I’d say Stradivarius’s behavior is like Frankie’s at the age of 28 when he went to discos.”
Stradivarius will arrive at his fief on Thursday, earning just under £ 3 million ($ 4.2 million) with 17 victories in his 27 starts.
“I’m very happy with him,” Gosden said.
“He could give a huge performance, even if they predict rain from Wednesday to Thursday, which worries me because it dulls his speed (acceleration).”
Gosden says that Stradivarius’ popularity stems from his character.
“He looks more like old jumpers who go on for years,” Gosden said.
“For cup races, he is watched, he is a figure and also a chestnut horse with four white socks.
“He deserves fame. He gets quite a lot of emails from fans, believe it or not.
“It’s all due to its owner / breeder Bjorn Nielsen, who has always tried to breed the Derby winner, but ended up with the legendary Gold Cup horse.”
– “Very on the ball” –
Stradivarius and Palace Pier give Gosden a strong enough presence at the meeting – “our (flat racing) big week of the year, even though the season is not yet in the middle” – and both they and other horse stars such as sprinter Bataash will be happy to cheer this time .
“There are a lot of people who are passionate about racing and are ready to go through the lateral flow (coronavirus) testing process every day to participate,” he said.
“I admit it was a bit surreal to sit in the grandstand at Ascot, eat your sandwich from a brown paper bag and drink coffee with anyone around you.”
If either Palace Pier or Stradivarius wins, it will be not only Gosden who will welcome them back as the winning coach, but also his son Thady, who has become his assistant for the last five years.
“Thady survived the verdict and it was a natural development for him,” said 70-year-old Gosden.
“She is very much on the ball and she is a great help to me.
“From my point of view, it was also quite inspiring to work with my son, who comes up with much better ideas than his old dad.”
Ascot played a huge role in Gosden’s life, not only on the track but also off the track.
“Rachel (Hood) decided it was the right thing to do, so we returned from California for a week to get married on the eve of Ascot in 1982.
“We didn’t go to bed until five in the morning and the next day I didn’t feel the best in Ascot!
“We will soon celebrate that we have been together for 50 years (they started attending Cambridge University in 1973) … she should get the Croix de Guerre!”
pi / no