Stradivarius in action at Goodwood (Hugh Routledge/PA)John Gosden will look to York and Doncaster with Stradivarius, after the superstar stayer was denied his attempt at a fifth successive victory in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup due to ground conditions.

The Bjorn Nielsen-owned gelding has carried all before him in the Group One over two miles, and was aiming to return to winning ways after his defeat in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

However, an overnight deluge saw the ground turn to heavy, soft in places before the start of racing – and after assessing conditions following the first race on the Downs, Stradivarius’ handlers opted not to run.

John and Thady Gosden talk to owner Bjorn Nielsen at Goodwood
John and Thady Gosden talk to owner Bjorn Nielsen at Goodwood (PA)

Gosden, who trains Stradivarius with his son Thady, said: “It’s difficult because obviously we were very keen to try to do something that has never been done before, which is win five Goodwood Cups in a row. He is in great form, full of himself and ready to run but I’m afraid when you get 60mm of rain since midday Sunday and another bucketload last night…

“I walked the track out in the country with Thady and the stick is going straight to the bottom. It turns it into a bit of a two-mile slog and Stradivarius is a horse who can travel with a great acceleration and a great turn of foot.

“He can put in pretty amazing fractions for the last two/three furlongs but you are not going to do it on that ground. I think at his age, you have to play to his strengths.

John Gosden had to make a difficult decision with Stradivarius
John Gosden had to make a difficult decision with Stradivarius (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We made foolish decisions last year to run him at Longchamp on bottomless ground by the River Seine, which he loathed, and then even more stupid to run him on Champions Day on very heavy ground at Ascot. Having made the mistake twice, we weren’t quite prepared to do the same thing again.

“All being well and doing things right by the horse, we would like to go to the Lonsdale at York, which is a race he knows well. The easiest thing is to run, the hardest thing is not to run. You must always remember to do what is in the best interests of the horse.

“All being well, we will go to the Lonsdale and look at something like the Doncaster Cup after that.”