Goodwood Festival’s Big Start

Melbourne Cup winner in the mix too

A rematch between Stradivarius (John Gosden) and Dee Ex Bee (Mark Johnston) is set to provide the best possible start to the Qatar Goodwood Festival on Tuesday, July 30.

The two stayers head 13 confirmations for the highlight of day one, the £500,000 Gr1 Qatar Goodwood Cup  over two miles.

A length separated the duo last time out in the Gr1 Gold Cup over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot on June 20, with Stradivarius coming out on top.

Stradivarius (pictured above with Frankie Detrori up),  who was homebred by owner Bjorn Nielsen, is seeking a record-equalling third success in the Qatar Goodwood Cup following victories in 2017 and 2018. The five-year-old Sea The Stars horses is now unbeaten in his last seven starts. If successful on Tuesday and in York’s G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup on August 23, Stradivarius would scoop the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million, with its £1-million bonus, for the second year in succession.

Stradivarious is the 4/5 favourite with Unibet, official betting partner of the Qatar Goodwood Festival, for the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

Dee Ex Bee (5/1 with Unibet) represents Britain’s winning-most trainer of all time, Mark Johnston, who was responsible for the only three-time winner of the Qatar Goodwood Cup, Double Trigger (1995, 1997 & 1998) as well as Royal Rebel (2000) and Darasim (2004).

Prior to his Gold Cup second, Dee Ex Bee had won two G3 contests over two miles in 2019 – Ascot’s Sagaro Stakes and the Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park. The highlight of his three-year-old career was filling the runner-up spot in the G1 Derby at Epsom Downs behind Godolphin’s Masar.

Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father, gave an update on Dee Ex Bee today: “Dee Ex Bee is in good form and everything has been A1 with him since Royal Ascot.

“It is all systems go for the Goodwood Cup, but we are under no illusions about the task facing us with Stradivarius once again.Dee Ex Bee has been ticking over nicely and not much has changed with him or indeed the field he is likely to face on Tuesday.We will be facing the same rivals as in the Gold Cup, but we’re looking forward to running.It is going to be a big challenge to win the contest, but he’s a top-class horse and hopefully he can serve it up to his rivals!”

Also going forward for the Qatar Goodwood Cup is Godolphin’s Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby, 4/1), winner of Australia’s greatest race the Gr1 Melbourne Cup in 2018 and a close fourth at Royal Ascot to Stradivarius.

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