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The staying legend that is Stradivarius makes his seasonal reappearance in the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup on the final day of the Dante Festival.
A three-race plan has been devised for what is likely to be the eight-year-old’s final year in training and he faces four rivals in the 3.35pm at York as he attempts to win the Group 2 contest for a third time.
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Big rival Trueshan is absent due to ground concerns so two-time Group 1 winner Search For A Song and Tashkhan, who beat beat Stradivarius in last year’s Long Distance Cup, appear to be the principal threats.
You’ll find Timeform’s runner-by-runner guide to the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup and tips from our experts below.
Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup runners
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden Jockey: Frankie Dettori Age: 8 Weight: 9st 6lbs Draw: 1
Made a successful reappearance in this in 2018 and 2019 and he’s been a fabulous stayer over the years for connections. Put in his place by Trueshan to end last year but he still demands the utmost respect.
Trainer: Ralph Beckett Jockey: Rob Hornby Age: 5 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 2
Failed to win at 3 or 4 yrs but emphatically put it right on reappearance in the John Porter. Step back up in trip no issue and he’s likely to give his running.
Trainer: Brian Ellison Jockey: Ben Robinson Age: 4 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 4
Big improver for this yard last year, culminating with excellent 1½ lengths second of 10 to Trueshan in Long Distance Cup in November. Shaped as though in need of the run in the Sagaro Stakes so better expected this time.
Trainer: Charlie & Mark Johnston Jockey: Franny Norton Age: 5 Weight: 9st 3lbs Draw: 5
Smart gelding who ran with credit in pattern company last season without managing to get his head in front. Showed the benefit of reappearance in the John Porter when second in the Ormonde Stakes with blinkers back on.
Search For A Song
Trainer: D. K. Weld Jockey: C. D. Hayes Age: 6 Weight: 9st 0lbs Draw: 3
Very smart dual-Irish Leger winner and better than ever when adding to tally in the Loughbrown Stakes in September. Kept in training and reappearance second last month was perfectly satisfactory. Major player.
Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup tips
Matt Chapman: Hard to oppose old boy STRADIVARIUS even at the age of eight. The Gosden runner has Frankie Dettori up and has proved himself one of the top stayers in recent years. With Trueshan and Scope not in the field he should be good enough still to give weight away including 6lb to Search for a Song.
Rory Delargy: Stradivarius showed signs last season that he’s starting to regress a little and I don’t think this race will be run to suit him. Franny Norton is on THUNDEROUS and he won’t bolt out in front to help out Stradivarius. Franny will be smart and make this a tactical race. He’ll want to push the button at the right time to catch Stradivarius out. I don’t think there’s much between the pair of them so I fancy Thunderous to get the job done. He’s had two runs this season and he finished second at Chester last week so he’s fit.
Timeform: Having been kept in training as a 6-y-o mare, SEARCH FOR A SONG looks set for another productive season on the back of a sound reappearance, and in receipt of weight all round, is a tempting alternative to Stradivarius. The Gosden runner has been a fine servant for connections but he wasn’t at the peak of his powers to end 2021 and he looks worth opposing at a shade of odds-on.
Ruby Walsh: As Stradivarius gets older it can’t be easier to get him fit and I’ll be surprised if Franny Norton or Chris Hayes don’t try and test his fitness. I’d hate to get beaten on a race-fit horse by one that might not be race fit. Even though she’s a six-year-old, I’ll be with SEARCH FOR A SONG as she has the run behind Kyprios at Navan under her belt.
Jason Weaver: It’s time for the new younger stayer to upstage the mighty Stradivarius on his return to action in 2022. TASHKHAN was a massive improver towards the back end of last season and was nowhere near concert pitch for his return at Ascot last month. He was up on the front end and that definitely wasn’t the place to be so hopefully our young rider can step up onto the big stage and produce now he’s in the pressure cooker situation.
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