GB: Ascot Gold Cup hero Subjectivist and four-time Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius are on course for an eagerly awaited rematch in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup on Tuesday, July 27.
Entries were released on Wednesday [June 23] for seven races at the Qatar Goodwood Festival – including the two-mile highlight and the G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, where Prince of Wales’s Stakes principals Love and Audarya are both engaged.
All eyes were on the John & Thady Gosden-trained Stradivarius at Royal Ascot as he attempted to emulate Yeats’s record of four Gold Cups – but it was Subjectivist who powered to an emphatic five-length victory as Stradivarius met trouble in running to finish fourth.
Mark Johnston’s stable star is building quite a CV, with last week’s success coming on the back of equally dominant victories in the G1 Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp in October and the G2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March.
Now the four-year-old bids for another G1 victory in Goodwood’s £500,000 showpiece, a race Johnston has won five times already, including three times via Double Trigger – a feat surpassed by Stradivarius last year.
“Subjectivist has had a very easy time of it since his run in the Gold Cup,” said Johnston. “He will have a gradual return back to full work, with the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup being the next target.
“Looking back at the Gold Cup, it was a very exciting performance,” the record-breaking trainer went on. “Whichever way you look at it, whether it be the form, the time, the sectional times, the distance he won by, it all points to it being an absolutely top-draw performance.
“In fairness, his win before that in Dubai was very good, but I suppose everybody is generally slightly sceptical of the Dubai form. But at Ascot he has confirmed it by running a very similar race in terms of style. I don’t think there are any doubts about the horse now.
“It is well-documented that I love the stayers, and it means a huge amount to me personally to have a horse like this. With horses who run in these big two-mile plus races, the big concern is can you keep them sound, but barring any injuries or problems, he is an extremely exciting horse to have.”
Regarding a rematch with Stradivarius, Johnston added: “I think if you read my blog, you will see that I said, ‘Subjectivist was bred by Susan Hearn, Barry Hearn’s wife, and if this was another sport, Barry Hearn would be promoting the rematch and we’d all be making a lot of money out of it!’ But seriously, a big clash between these two horses at Goodwood will be very good for racing.”
Stradivarius has made the Goodwood Cup his own since landing the spoils for the first time as a three-year-old in 2017. Bjorn Nielsen’s homebred is chasing an unprecedented fifth straight victory, a feat unlikely to be repeated in a race that dates back to 1812.
Other high-profile entries include Yorkshire Cup victor Spanish Mission, third behind Subjectivist at Royal Ascot, and 2019 St Leger victor Logician.
Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien has three entries, including Melbourne Cup victor Twilight Payment and prolific G2 Belmont Gold Cup winner Baron Samedi.
• Visit the Qatar Goodwood Festival website