Doncaster Cup preview: Star stayer Stradivarius impossible to oppose

Published on: September 12, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
2019 Doncaster Cup preview featuring Stradivarius (right)

Stradivarius faces just five rivals in the 2m 2f Group 2 Doncaster Cup on Friday (15:10) and, despite cramped odds of 1/2 with Boylesports, looks a worthy red-hot favourite to extend his unbeaten run.

The all-conquering John Gosden trained five-year-old, who is unbeaten for almost two years and seeking a tenth successive win, will become the first horse in 39 years to complete the Stayers’ Triple Crown if he triumphs on Town Moor.

Le Moss was the last to achieve the feat of winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup in the same year in both 1979 and 1980.

When Le Moss carried all before him in 1980, he kept winning at the expense of Ardross, who would himself go on to scale great heights. The pair finished one-two in the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Doncaster Cup.

A similar scenario is currently being played out, as Stradivarius’ triumphs at Ascot, Goodwood and in the Lonsdale Cup have seen him beat Dee Ex Bee into second.

The son of Sea The Stars won the latter over 2m during York’s Ebor Festival in impressive fashion, travelling well throughout in the hands of regular pilot Frankie Dettori before quickening clear inside the last to score by 1 1/4 lengths.

He only had to be pushed out to get the job done with the minimum fuss and was value for much more than the winning margin.

Stradivarius now has to give Dee Ex Bee, who is surprisingly officially rated just 2lb inferior, 5lb.

However, he scored with so much authority that it’s hard to see that being enough for the runner-up to turn the tables.

Providing he performs on the day, this looks a penalty kick for Stradivarius and he’s impossible to oppose.

Dee Ex Bee set to play second fiddle – again!

The aforementioned Dee Ex Bee is a tough sort who has done nothing wrong this season and looks the obvious one to once again chase home Stradivarius for forecast backers.

Trained by Mark Johnston, the 2018 Epsom Derby runner-up relished the step up to 2m when landing his first two starts of the campaign.

After easily beating Raymond Tusk by 3 1/4 lengths in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, the four-year-old outbattled Mekong when following up by 1 3/4 lengths in the similar grade Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

Dee Ex Bee then went down by a length by Stradivarius in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup before finding that rival a neck too strong in the Goodwood Cup.

The son of Farhh was one again put in his place by the Bjorn Nielsen owned champion stayer last time out in the Lonsdale Cup at York, where he could only plug on at one pace to snatch second on the line.

Despite now being better off at the weights, it’s hard to make a case for Dee Ex Bee – an 11/4 shot with Paddy Power – winning the fourth clash between the pair.

There are simply no chinks in Stradivarius’ armour, so Dee Ex Bee looks set to be second to him yet again.

He is sold Doncaster Cup forecast value, however, with the other four horses having tons to find.

Sneaky Getaway could prove best of rest in Doncaster Cup

The race will be a landmark occasion for Cheltenham Festival winning jockey Emmet Mullins, who saddles his first runner in a group race in the shape of the improving Sneaky Getaway.

This six-year-old belatedly began his career this year running in bumpers, winning twice, and has also scored on two of his three starts on the level.

In the last of those at Tramore, Sneaky Getaway made a mockery of his handicap mark off 88 when scoring unextended by 4 1/2 lengths.

He now runs off a revised rating of 101 after only three starts on the Flat, but that that is 20lb less than Stradivarius and odds of 25/1 with Ladbrokes reflect his chances. Sneaky Getaway could well prove best of the rest and grab third place.

Willie Mullins enjoyed a one-two in the Doncaster Cup last year via Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite.

This time, he relies solely on the latter, whose exploits have also included winning the Lonsdale Cup in 2015 and twice being placed in the Melbourne Cup.

As a nine-year-old, though, he doesn’t look the force of old and is readily opposed.

The line-up is completed by the Roger Varian trained Barsanti, who steps up in trip after finishing a staying-on fifth in the Ebor at York last time, and Andrew Balding’s Cleonte.

That one finished eleventh in that race after earlier in the season winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot. Both look to have mountains to climb to make their presence felt in the Doncaster Cup, though.