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Owner will call tune on Cup quest with Stradivarius

Stradivarius is somewhat of a support act but his dominance over extended trip has his rivals preparing to hop back on the plane to Melbourne. Cross Counter is almost certain to return and defend his title on the first Tuesday in November.

Stradivarius had only had a neck to spare on Dee Ex Bee at the end of two miles on the Sussex Downs on Tuesday but that was more due to Frankie Dettori’s celebration before the post than the horse.

“He’s come and won his race and then our great hero started waving at the crowd. He’s [Stradivarius] a little dangerous as he’s a pro and when you say ‘well that’s enough’ then he’ll say ‘okay I’ll put the brakes on’. It was lucky Frankie didn’t go over the handle bars I thought,” Gosden said.

Dettori sat him the the back of Cross Counter until the long Goodwood straight. The Melbourne Cup winner was first to come off the bridle around 400m out. Stradivarius quickened past him and the result wasn’t in doubt from there.

“He felt brilliant today. I wanted to follow James [Doyle] and it was like the Tour de France – he took me into the race. I celebrated 10 yards too soon, but what a beautiful horse,” said Dettori, who chalked up a 10th group 1 for the year.

Dettori would have to make a choice between Enable and Stradivarius if both arrive in Paris in October but as Gosden pointed out it is great to have two champions.

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“We need horses like them. It is so important to have heroes,” Gosden said.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby will revert to plan A a return to Australia to defend his Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter, where he expects to carry 57 or 57.5 kilos.

If Stradivarius was to come he would almost certainly be asked to lump something in 60s, which is fitting for a horse unbeaten in eight runs since his three-year-old year.

“Stradivarius is what he is, he is a supreme champion,” Appleby said. “Where do we go now, we have our eyes on the Irish St Leger and a return to Melbourne.

“It would be a stiffer task this year, but the way he won it last year, it would be well worth it going back. That’s plan A.

“It has been something we have had in our minds and I said to a few guys the other as long as he puts in a solid performance we are going there.

“That was a solid performance and he has a racing weight in the Cup. He has definitely got stronger this year.”

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