Watch galloping clues and interviews plus read the views of leading connections ahead of the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday. And click here for the full racecard and Timeform comments plus the latest betting.
Watch the finishes of all the key long distance races that have taken place in Britain this season
John Gosden reports Stradivarius to be in tip-top shape as the £1million-winning stayer bids to complete a lucrative season on a high in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
The four-year-old scooped the seven-figure Weatherbys Hamilton-backed bonus with victories in the Yorkshire Cup, Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup.
Stradivarius was not quite his brilliant best when taking the latter race at York in August, but has had a refreshing break and has been pleasing his trainer at home.
John Gosden discusses Stradivarius ahead of the Long Distance Cup
“He is in tremendous form and I’m very happy with him,” said Gosden.
“He has put good condition back on. He comes in great order and we are thrilled with him.
“I think his win in the Gold Cup was the most satisfying moment of my year.
“He’s a diminutive horse and the fact he gave everything, pulled a shoe off and rammed it into his foot in the last furlong and still won was a pretty remarkable achievement.
“He’s all heart.”
Relive the victory of Stradivarius in the Lonsdale Cup at York
However, the testing ground is a worry for his rider, Frankie Dettori.
“He has been a magnificent horse this year. He is a great stayer, he’s drawn well (stall one), and if he handles the conditions, then he will be there or thereabouts,” Dettori said in his Ladbrokes blog.
“Obviously the ground is a concern for us as his best ground is good to firm. However, he came third on similar ground last year and coped with it.”
Thomas Hobson won the Doncaster Cup in good style and his trainer Willie Mullins is hoping a similar performance can see the eight-year-old earn a decent slice of the cash on offer.
“He was impressive at Doncaster last time and is in good order,” said Mullins.
“It’s hard to expect he will win, but if he could run well and get a good share of the prize-money, then we’d be very happy.”
Aidan O’Brien sends a team of three-year-olds to take on the older horses. His trio is headed by Flag Of Honour. The Irish St Leger hero was supplemented at Monday’s confirmation stage.
“He’s in good form and seems to have come out of the Irish Leger well. We’ve been happy with him since,” said O’Brien.
“He got the Leger trip well and we thought there was a chance that he might even stay further.”
Naas Group Three scorer Cypress Creek and the lightly-raced Sir Erec, winner of a Listed contest at Limerick, give the Ballydoyle handler an interesting hand.