The world’s best stayer, Stradivarius, has suffered his first defeat in nearly two years, failing narrowly to catch Kew Gardens in the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.
Stradivarius was the 8-13 favourite to win for trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori but 7-2 second elect Kew Gardens would not give in, prevailing by a nose at the end of two miles (3200m).
His win gave trainer Aidan O’Brien’s jockey son Donnacha his first success on Champions day.
“We were training him for the Gold Cup and he got an injury and it all went pear-shaped so we’re just so lucky to get him back. He pulled all the muscles in his back just before Ascot,” Aidan O’Brien said.
“He barely made it back for the Irish St Leger and that race just didn’t go right. He’s an incredible horse.
“It’s possible he’ll be around next year. The lads will decide what they want to do. There is a big chance he will be.
“He’s a very brave horse, so I’m delighted.”
Gosden said Stradivarius struggled in the soft ground.
“He did well to win it last year as they went no pace. This year he found it too much of a slog in the ground. He has run a wonderful race and has come back in and had a whinny, so he is happy,” he said.
“Take nothing away from the winner. We headed him and he’s come back.”
At the other end of the distance range, Donjuan Triumphant has claimed a poignant victory in the Champions Sprint,
The 33-1 chance came with a late run to win lunged late to beat One Master by a length.
Trained by Andrew Balding, Donjuan Triumphant’s victory comes a year after the death of his owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash..
Donjuan Triumphant was the first horse bought by Leicester City owner Srivaddhanaprabha who founded King Power Racing.