Kyprios mastered Stradivarius and Trueshan in a Gr1 Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup that will long live in the memory at Goodwood on Tuesday.
The three top stayers contrived to produce a pulsating finish, with Gold Cup winner Kyprios, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, digging deep to deny Stradivarius a fifth win in the Group One showpiece.
Defending champ Trueshan, given the geen light to run by Alan King after the second race on the card, played his part, too, in finishing a close third.
Stradivarius again found a little trouble in running, this time under Andrea Atzeni as Frankie Dettori watched on from the sidelines. Though the eight-year-old got to the front inside the final furlong of a two-mile contest he has made his own, Kyprios kept finding more and got his head back in front in the last 200 yards to hold on for a neck victory.
Trueshan ran a gallant race in bidding to win back-to-back renewals, finishing a length and a quarter back in third.
Stradivarius, running at Goodwood for a final time, and was given a lap of honour afterwards. However, it seems likely his incredible story has more chapters in it with his owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen saying he will race on.
The Lonsdale Cup at York next month will possibly be next on his agenda and he would not have Kyprios to worry about there, with O’Brien indicating the Irish St Leger is on his agenda.
O’Brien said: “Kyprios is a great horse. Ryan gave him a beautiful ride and he is only ever in the gear that you want him. He is always keeping plenty and is a horse that loves a battle.
“He is lazy and if you want him to stay in first gear, he will stay in first gear and not go into second gear unless you want him. That is the way he is and the way he has always been. He saves everything and is very professional. I’d say there’s a lot more to come. He loves racing, is easy on himself and the plan from here is to go to the Irish St Leger.
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“He has a lot of class, a lot of quality. He has run over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot and two miles today, but we would have had no problem starting him over a mile and a quarter at the start of the year, as he has that real pace. However, you don’t see it as he doesn’t show it unless you really want it. It’s great to have him. Those type of horses are very special – when you have a horse who stays like that and has that class.”
Moore said: “Kyprios has done nothing wrong this year. Today was only his eighth race and he is only doing what he has to do. It was a steadily-run race and he was in front a long way out. He was just waiting. I always feel that I’m not going to the bottom of him.
“He is a proper Group One horse and Aidan has always had a lot of belief in the horse. At the start of the year, he was saying what he thought he could do, so all credit to him and the team at home for getting him back.Kyprios was always held in high regard. He is a full-brother to Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song, who is a lovely filly. He won his first start at three and then got beat in the Derby Trial. We were disappointed but it turned out to be a good Derby Trial. I was not on him in the Queen’s Vase [when he went under the stalls], but he was well fancied that day. It was just one of those things. He has a great attitude and is not a horse with any badness in him.
“Yeats was a machine. This horse won a Gold Cup at four and I think there’s more to come. We don’t know where we’ll end up yet. You know how good Trueshan is and Stradivarius has been, and the fourth horse Coltrane is improving. I think as far as Goodwood Cups go, it was a very strong race.”
Stradivarius’ owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen said: “I was happy with the way Stradivarius ran. I thought half a furlong out he was potentially in front, although it was hard to tell from the angle. Stradivarius and Kyprios were a fair way apart on the racecourse and I don’t know if it was competitive enough for him. If he had been upsides, it might have been a different story.
“Andrea [Atzeni] said he was following Kyprios through and he felt like he was going to do him for toe and then he got the bump from Trueshan, which forced him inside. He was in a pocket, but they had the cutaway today so he could go up the inside. When he made his run, I wasn’t sure if he would get up.
“We are not going to say goodbye, not when he is at the top of his game and ran like that today. He has still run in the last year or two like he has his enthusiasm. There is no point stopping him in the middle of the season.
“This is the best Goodwood Cup – it was lined up to be a tremendous race and going into this race today I thought he could win or finish third or fourth. He has run within a head of the Gold Cup winner. I think it was a great performance. We will go on for at least one more.”
- Day 2 starts at 14h50