Stradivarius downs Big Orange to land Goodwood Cup
Stradivarius looks another strong St Leger contender for John Gosden after downing Big Orange in the Qatar Goodwood Cup.
The Ascot Gold Cup winner adopted his usual front-running tactics under Frankie Dettori and appeared to have all of his rivals in trouble as he went in search of a third successive win in the race, which was newly-upgraded to Group One status.
However, Stradivarius, with Gosden keen to take advantage of the weight-for-age allowance as he was at the weekend with Enable in the King George, stayed on strongly.
Just like Big Orange, Stradivarius was a Royal Ascot winner in the Queen's Vase and the 13lb difference in weight was key inside the final furlong as the 6-1 chance pulled clear, with another three-year-old, Desert Skyline, in third.
Gosden has won the Leger in recent years with the likes of Lucarno, Masked Marvel and Arctic Cosmos and now all roads surely lead to Town Moor once more. The winner is now 4-1 second-favourite for the final Classic with Betfair.
Atzeni was riding a Group-race treble after earlier victories on Expert Eye and Breton Rock.
"It's a great day. I thought I had a chance coming here, but knew Big Orange was the one to beat," said Atzeni.
"He had to give us a lot of weight, though, and he's a three-year-old who stays well.
"I spoke to Mr Gosden before the race and said that if I had a chance to challenge Big Orange I didn't want to get near him, everyone knows what he's like, you can't get near him as he loves a fight.
"He's improving, I liked him at Ascot and he picked up like a nice horse. He could be anything."