Stradivarius and Dettori are the Golden Boys: Gosden

·3 min read

Stradivarius receives "quite a lot of fan mail" his trainer John Gosden told AFP which is sure to become a flood if he equals Yeats's record of four Ascot Gold Cup's (2006-09) on Thursday.

The Gold Cup is the flagship race of the five day Royal Ascot meeting, which will welcome 12,000 spectators per day compared to none last year due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Gosden could not be happier with his old warrior, who is bidding for a fifth successive success at Royal Ascot as he won the Queen's Vase in 2017 before his three consecutive Gold Cups.

Gosden -- whose other stable star Palace Pier bids to get him off to a dream start in Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes -- says he sees similarities between Stradivarius and his 50-year-old superstar jockey Frankie Dettori.

"They are a couple of old boys who get on rather well," Gosden told AFP by phone on Sunday.

"The two of them are not quite yet sitting in their deck chairs staring out to sea on Brighton seafront.

"They are good athletes despite their combined ages.

"Stradivarius is a seven-year-old full horse and I can assure you Frankie is a full horse.

"They are a pretty professional pair, though, I would say Stradivarius's behaviour is like Frankie at 28 when he was going to discotheques."

Stradivarius arrives at his fiefdom on Thursday having earned just shy of £3 million ($4.2 million) with 17 victories in his 27 starts.

"I am very very pleased with him," said Gosden.

"He could put up a huge performance though they forecast rain from Wednesday into Thursday which does concern me as it will blunt his turn of foot (acceleration)."

Gosden says Stradivarius's popularity stems from being a character.

"He is seen rather like old jumpers who go on for years," said Gosden.

"There is a following for the Cup races. He is a character, plus a chestnut with four white socks.

"He deserves the fame. He gets quite a lot of fan mail believe it or not.

"It is all down to his owner/breeder Bjorn Nielsen who has tried always to breed a Derby winner but has ended up with a legendary Gold Cup horse."

- 'Very on the ball ' -

Stradivarius and Palace Pier give Gosden a powerful enough presence at the meeting -- "our (flat racing) big week of the year even if the season is not yet at the halfway point" -- and is delighted they and other equine stars like sprinter Bataash will be cheered on this time round.

"There are a lot of people who are passionate about racing and are prepared to go through the lateral flow testing process (for coronavirus) each day to attend," he said.

"I admit it was rather surreal sitting in the grandstand at Ascot eating your sandwich out of a brown paper bag and drinking your coffee with no one around you."

Should either Palace Pier or Stradivarius prevail it will not be just Gosden welcoming them back as winning trainer but also his son Thady who has stepped up from being his assistant for the past five years.

"He (Thady) survived that sentence and it was a natural progression for him," said 70-year-old Gosden.

"He is very on the ball and a big big help to me.

"It has also been from my point of view quite inspiring to work with my son who comes up with far better ideas than his old dad."

Ascot has played a huge role in Gosden's life and not just on the track but off it as well.

"Rachel (Hood) decided it was the right thing to do and so we came back from California for a week to get married on the eve of Ascot in 1982.

"We did not get to bed till five in the morning and I was not feeling my best at Ascot the next day!

"We are soon to celebrate being together for 50 years (began dating at Cambridge University in 1973)... she should get the Croix de Guerre!"