The world’s top-rated stayer, Stradivarius, will face 12 rivals when he attempts to regain his QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup crown.
The brilliant six-year-old, bred and owned by Bjorn Nielsen, won the Qatar Goodwood Cup for a record fourth time at Goodwood in July, having landed the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for the third time the previous month.
He has won a record 13 races that fall under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella, including the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup in 2018.
In total, he has run 13 times over two miles or further and been beaten just twice – when a length third to Order Of St George as a three-year-old in the 2017 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup and when pipped a nose by Kew Gardens in last year’s pulsating renewal.
Kew Gardens wins a thriller on the nod!— ITV Racing (@itvracing) October 19, 2019
The winning streak for Stradivarius is over after Kew Gardens clings on for a stunning famous win in the Champions Long Distance Cup!
What. A. Race 🏇 pic.twitter.com/8ql5IVU6sh
Thirteen is a recurring number in this year’s Long Distance Cup because that’s also the number of runners it has attracted – a joint-record for the race.
Stradivarius will face an intriguing new rival in the shape of two-time Comer Group International Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song.
She was impressive when beating Fujaira Prince, the Sky Bet Ebor winner, by two lengths at The Curragh last time and her trainer, Dermot Weld, already has two Long Distance Cup winners in Rite Of Passage (2012) and Forgotten Rules (2014) to his name.
Aidan O’Brien has gone one better than Weld and won the race three times via Fame And Glory (2011), Order Of St George (2017) and Kew Gardens (2019).
This time he will be represented by Sovereign, winner of last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby; Broome, fourth in last year’s Investec Derby; and Dawn Patrol, third in this year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
Andrew Balding runs Spanish Mission, smooth winner of the Doncaster Cup on his latest start, and soft-ground specialist Morando, whose exploits last season included an eight-length drubbing of Kew Gardens in the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester.
Other runners include the Alan King-trained Trueshan, winner of six of his ten starts and the mount of Hollie Doyle.
WHAT THEY SAY:
Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Dawn Patrol, Broome and Sovereign
“Dawn Patrol won a Group 3 over two miles at The Curragh last time, where he looked comfortable [over the distance] and Seamie [Heffernan] was very happy with him. He probably wants to be ridden a little bit patiently over that trip.
He seems in good form, plus handles ease in the ground. Broome hasn’t run in a long time but we always felt he would stay further than a mile and a half. He seems to be in good form and looks like he’s ready to start but it is his first run in a long time.
Sovereign was going for the Arc and they can’t all run in the Champion. We always felt he would get further than a mile and a half, or a mile and six. Stradivarius is a great horse and it will be very competitive.”
Andrew Balding, trainer of Spanish Mission and Morando
“Spanish Mission was very impressive in the Doncaster Cup last time but I would have thought he would be effective from a mile and a half to an extended two miles.
He’s a horse who historically has not wanted the ground too soft, so that’s a concern for him. Morando, on the other hand, loves it when the mud is flying.
It’s a new venture going two miles with him but the way he’s shaped in his races in the last two seasons suggests that two miles is well within his compass now and he goes well at Ascot.”
Dermot Weld, trainer of Search For A Song
“Search For A Song has never raced over further than a mile and six, but she wasn’t stopping at the end of the St Leger and that’s what is giving me the encouragement to have a crack at it.”
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