Why Stradivarius is a Goodwood Cup non-runner as weather changes going

The heavens opened at Goodwood.

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Sad news for racing fans as Stradivarius has been declared a non-runner for the Goodwood Cup after an overnight deluge soaked the West Sussex track.

Stradivarius was aiming to make it five successive wins in the Group 1 contest but the change of going to heavy, soft in places from soft, good to soft in places prompted trainers John and Thady Gosden to withdraw their superstar stayer.

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The seven-year-old had been odds-on favourite for the Goodwood Cup but drifted to 2/1 in our market on Tuesday morning due to the testing conditions. Trueshan, a ground specialist, was backed in to favouritism and has strengthened his position at the top of the market.

Gosden Snr admitted Stradivarius’ recent poor performances on soft and heavy ground – including placing 12th behind Trueshan in the British Champions Long Distance Cup last year – sparked the decision to not run.

“I walked the track and the stick is going straight it to the bottom and it turns it into a two mile slog,” he said.

“At his age, you’ve got to play to his strengths and we made foolish decisions last year. We weren’t prepared to do the same thing again.

“All being well, we’d like to go to the Lonsdale at York. The easiest thing is to run, the hardest thing is not to run.”

Goodwood’s clerk of the course, Ed Arkell, admitted that the sheer amount of rainfall caught his team by surprise.

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He said: “We had 16.1mm of rain overnight, which we weren’t forecast, in one real heavy thunderstorm at about 2.30am this morning. That’s changed it to heavy, soft in places and the course has taken it well but it’s still the heavy, soft ground.

“It’s just a bit more heavy ground [than soft] but hopefully as it settles down and if we have a dry couple of days it’ll start to make a bit more improvement.”

Arkell added: “We’re forecast for a mainly dry day, although there are some showers forecast. We’re having some trouble with the weather forecast so everything needs to be taken with a pinch of salt – it’s the humid air masses coming up from the continent that are always unpredictable, particularly at the moment.”

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