By Andrew Atkinson
Kew Gardens – selected by fromthehorsesmouth.tips – ended Stradivarius’s two year winning streak in a thrilling QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
“Kew Gardens is a very brave horse – I’m delighted. I’d say the Gold Cup next year would definitely be the target – if he stayed in training,” said O’Brien.
“We were training him for the Gold Cup (this year) – he got an injury – and it all went pear shaped,” said O’Brien, who collected the £225,000 winnings.
“We’re just so lucky to get him back. He pulled all the muscles in his back just before Ascot. He barely made it back for the Irish St Leger – that race just didn’t go right,” reflected O’Brien.
Stradivarius (8-13) jockey Frankie Dettori rued: “The (heavy) ground was so deep. Kew Gardens (7-2) outstayed me on the ground.”
Stradivarius trainer John Gosden reasoned: “It was too soft – he was not entirely happy on it. He didn’t really love it through Swinley Bottom.
“It was very bold and sporting to run him, but he just found the ground too soft.”
Gosden added: “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.
“Take nothing away from the winner, we headed him and he’s come back. It’s not his ground, Frankie said he wasn’t very happy through Swinley Bottom.
“He has been beaten a nose, so there is no disgrace in that. It is just not his ground. We will be back for the Ascot Gold Cup on good to firm in good shape.”