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Stradivarius among 56 entries for the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup

8 Aug 2018

Prize money for the staying contest up to record £500,000, an increase of £50,000 on last year.

stradivarius feature

John Gosden’s star winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Qatar Goodwood Cup, Stradivarius, would face many familiar rivals, including Order Of St George, who expected to have a busy autumn en-route to defending his QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Aidan O’Brien’s fine stayer, who inflicted a half-length defeat of Torcedor and Stradivarius at QIPCO British Champions Day last October, is being given a very similar campaign to 2017 and was last seen taking fourth in the Gold Cup.

“It was always the plan to give him a break after Ascot, just as we did last year,” said O’Brien. “We could have run in the Goodwood Cup, but he’ll now go for a prep for the Irish Leger and then try to win the Irish Leger for a third time. He’s fresh and well and in good form.

“After that, he could well repeat the same pattern as last year and go for the Arc on the way to Ascot, although we’d have to look at that nearer the time. Certainly, the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup does look like it could be a target for him again after he won it last season.”

O’Brien has 14 entries in all including a number of exciting three-year-olds such as Hunting Horn and Kew Gardens, who took the Hampton Court Stakes and Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot respectively, with the latter going on to take the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris.

Torcedor has continued to excel since last year, adding a course and distance victory in the Longines Sagaro Stakes and finishing within a length of Stradivarius at Royal Ascot and Goodwood.

Trainer Jessica Harrington said, ”Torcedor is very well after Goodwood, he’s all raring to go again. He’s been back cantering and I’m very happy with him. I’m not sure which way we’ll go now, either to York for the Lonsdale Cup or for the Irish Leger at the Curragh, but I’ve got time to do both if I want. I’m just going to wait and see. If he gets through that, then we’ve got Ascot to think about.”

With more representatives than both of his Irish compatriots, champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has made 16 entries including the likes of Renneti, Limini, Max Dynamite, Thomas Hobson and Wicklow Brave. Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee and Northumberland Plate winner Withhold are other notable inclusions.

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