Stradivarius strengthened his grip on the staying division with a third successive victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup.

John Gosden’s star stayer enjoyed a faultless campaign in 2018 – winning the Yorkshire Cup, the Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup to land a huge bonus through the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million.

For good measure, the five-year-old added the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup back at Ascot in October to his seasonal haul, and has continued in the same vein this term – with successful defences of the Yorkshire Cup and the Gold Cup setting up his Goodwood hat-trick bid.

The Bjorn Nielsen-owned chestnut was a warm order to emulate the hugely popular Double Trigger by becoming a three-time winner, and the 4-5 favourite ultimately did so with the minimum of fuss.

Frankie Dettori was happy to play a waiting game as the Tim Easterby-trained Wells Farhh Go set a strong pace and quickly opened up a huge lead. He began to faltered, however, and it was left for the big guns to fight it out.

Gold Cup runner-up Dee Ex Bee did his best to draw the finish out of Stradivarius, while Melbourne Cup hero and Gold Cup fourth Cross Counter travelled into the race smoothly.

But neither could live with the trademark finishing kick of Stradivarius and he was good value for the winning margin of a neck over Dee Ex Bee, with Dettori celebrating before passing the post.

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