There are 26 excellent entries for the 2018 Qatar Goodwood Cup, staged over two miles and part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
Stradivarius captured the 2017 renewal of the Qatar Goodwood Cup, the first running of the prestigious event as a Group 1 contest, when he came home a length and three-quarters in front of Big Orange, the winner in both 2015 and 2016.
Owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, Stradivarius is chasing the WH Stayers’ Million, a bonus of £1 million offered by Weatherbys Hamilton which will be awarded to the horse who wins one of four prep races in May followed by the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes (York, August 24).
Stradivarius’s trainer, John Gosden has also entered Weekender, owned and bred by Khalid Abdullah.
Vazirabad, the leading French stayer, was making his British debut when runner-up at Royal Ascot, but trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre is eyeing a return to the other side of the English Channel for the Aga Khan-owned six-year-old.
Chantilly-based de Royer-Dupre commented: “We are certainly considering the Qatar Goodwood Cup for Vazirabad.
“We will keep an eye on the weather, as I wouldn’t want to travel with him if it is really hot. If it is normal weather and not too hot, we will certainly look at coming over.
“He has come back well from Royal Ascot. He doesn’t give the maximum in his races – he is an old man who knows his job and looks after himself!
"It would be nice to take on Stradivarius again.”
Other Gold Cup runners who could re-oppose Stradivarius in the Qatar Goodwood Cup include the third home Torcedor and the fourth Order Of St George.
Order Of St George is one of seven entries for Aidan O’Brien, reigning champion trainer in Britain and Ireland. O’Brien’s septet also includes the three-year-old Kew Gardens as well as Giuseppe Garibaldi and Delano Roosevelt.
Her Majesty The Queen could be represented in the Qatar Goodwood Cup by Call To Mind who has won at Goodwood, having taken the Listed March Stakes in 2017. The Queen has twice enjoyed success in the Goodwood Cup, courtesy of Apprentice (1965) and Gaulois (1966), who were both trained by Cecil Boyd-Rochfort.
Desert Skyline finished third behind Stradivarius and Big Orange in the 2017 Qatar Goodwood Cup before going on to success in the G2 Doncaster Cup and looks set for another tilt this year.
Other contenders include the Ronnie Arculli-trained and Ed Dunlop-trained pair of Red Verdon and Amazing Red, an impressive winner last time out. Withhold has yet to race this season, having been last seen out when winning the valuable Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket in the autumn.
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