Bjorn Nielsen feels timing was right as Stradivarius heads to stud

The son of Sea The Stars won the Ascot Gold Cup on three occasions
Bjorn Nielsen feels timing was right as Stradivarius heads to stud

John and Thady Gosden's star stayer Stradivarius has been retired to stud. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA 

Owner Bjorn Nielsen believes the time is right to retire his three-time Gold Cup winner Stradivarius.

The eight-year-old has been sidelined since missing out on last month's Lonsdale Cup, when a bruised foot forced his withdrawal on the morning of the race at York.

Nielsen reports the problem to have taken longer than anticipated to resolve and, after consultation with John Gosden, who trains the horse in partnership with son Thady, he has opted retire his star stayer to the National Stud.

He told Nick Luck's Daily Podcast: "He took slightly longer to get over that foot bruising that he had when he was withdrawn on the morning of the Lonsdale.

"It would be hard to get him back now for Champions Day and John just thought it would be unfair really to put him through it again as a nine-year-old next year.

"He's been the soundest horse — he's never been medicated, he'd never missed an engagement in his career (through injury) and now to start training him with something that's kind of there that wasn't there before, it's time to draw stumps."

Stradivarius bows out as a seven-time Group 1 winner, encompassing three Gold Cups at Royal Ascot and a record four renewals of the Goodwood Cup.

The son of Sea The Stars had his final career start in the latter contest, running this year's Ascot hero Kyprios to a neck — a performance Nielsen is happy to end on.

He said: "He's had a fabulous career, he's never — pardon the pun — put a foot wrong. He went out there beaten a neck at Goodwood. He ran a great race and he's gone out at the top.

"I never wanted to see this horse finish running in fifth or sixth somewhere in a race next year, I'd much prefer to see him go out on a high. Of course I would love to see him go on for another eight years, but I think it's time and time for him to see if he can produce anything near himself in the next few years, which I certainly hope he can.

"He will go to the National Stud and we're very much looking forward to that."

Stradivarius secured the last win of his career at York in May, when taking a third Yorkshire Cup, adding to three Lonsdale Cups on the Knavesmire and two Doncaster Cups.

His career spanned seven seasons and Nielsen thinks that fortitude is a key trait Stradivarius can pass on to his progeny.

He added: "His soundness has been one of his great assets. Having a sound horse is half the battle really, a horse that you can train and he's certainly been that throughout. His tremendous will to win, his presence and he actually is a very fast horse.

"His times over the last two or three furlongs on all those big race days is very often the fastest of the day. He runs fast times and has a great ability to quicken, so I think all those things are attributes that any breeder would want to breed to. Hopefully he is going to get the support he deserves."

Frankie Dettori, who rode Stradivarius in all but nine of his 35 career starts and was in the saddle for the vast majority of his successes, said in a message posted to Twitter: "I've just got the news that the mighty Strad has retired, I'm on my way to Germany to ride Torquator Tasso for the Arc.

"What can I say? He's been a part of my life for the past six years. A good friend, a wonderful horse, so many great times together.

"I've never ridden a horse with so many Group wins under my name, I think we did 14 together.

"Big thank you to Bjorn Nielsen and also a big well done to the Clarehaven team.

"It was an honour for me to ride him and I will miss him a lot, he's been a fabulous horse to have, one of a lifetime. I wish him a happy retirement and hopefully he'll become a great stallion in the future."

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