Royal Ascot News: Old champ Stradivarius swinging for another Gold Cup

Eight-year-old star stayer Stradivarius has nothing to prove when it comes to the Ascot Gold Cup. The veteran will be lacing up his gloves for what could be a final Ascot appearance.

Veteran trainer John Gosden knows a lot about continuing to perform at the top level later in life and he is backing his old warrior Stradivarius to strike a blow in what could be his last Ascot Gold Cup.

Gosden made the analogy of his eight-year-old gloving up at the tail end of a boxer's career, knowing he may still have the power to see off younger contenders.

Stradivarius has won the two mile, four furlong stayers' test at Ascot three times and is going for an historic fourth as a complete horse that hasn't been gelded, making the training challenge that bit trickier.

"It's one thing training an eight-year-old gelding, it's another thing training an eight-year-old full horse," said Gosden.

"But he's happy and well. I'm hoping the weather holds for him and we get to run on something called good ground rather than soft or heavy, which isn't his scene at all. Going to Goodwood last year, you turn up for the first day and you don't expect it to be heavy ground."

When asked about training a horse still replete with his tackle, Gosden said: "I think I can answer that by saying testosterone is probably the most dangerous drug in the world! They're going to start thinking about other things aren't they? What did Dick Hern say? Give me a stable of geldings and I'll kill the bookmakers.

"You'd have to argue that as an eight-year-old he was probably in his prime at five maybe into six, but at eight you have to face the fact that it's like a boxer getting back in the ring too late in his career sometimes."

While confident about the horse's chances Gosden is less confident about irrepressible Italian Frankie Dettori being able to contain his excitement should he win.

"I'm fine about it - it's just his jockey who is out of control!" he said.

"I think the horse will tell us (when to retire). He's still enjoying his training and everything is going smoothly and I think that's absolutely fine, there's no problem with that, to race on. I think the plan was not to go racing deep into the autumn."

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