31st July 2023


Crowd favourite Stradivarius, one of the most popular racehorses of recent times, becomes the third horse chosen by the public to be inducted into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame. 

Stradivarius was chosen via a Public Vote, with the shortlist also comprising four more legendary Stayers: Ardross, Le Moss, Persian Punch and Yeats. Each year, the public are invited to choose one horse worthy of a place in British Flat racing’s Hall of Fame.

This year, the public were invited to choose from a shortlist of five Long Distance legends shortlisted by the Hall of Fame’s eight-strong independent judging panel. Any one of the quintet would have been a worthy inclusion, but Stradivarius pulled away to win with a majority. More than 3,000 people voted, with votes cast online via the Hall of Fame website, and through a special interactive screen installed within the Hall of Fame exhibition at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket.

Connections of Stradivarius will receive a specially commissioned medal crafted by Asprey to mark the induction, which will be presented ahead of the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup tomorrow, a race that Stradivarius won a record-breaking four times.

The highly recognisable chestnut, with four white socks, captured the hearts and minds of the British public following his breakthrough year as a three-year-old in 2017, when he won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot and went on to win his first Goodwood Cup that year. 

Stradivarius’ owner breeder Bjorn Nielsen said: “It’s an honour for Stradivarius to receive this award and to join the illustrious group of inductees that are already installed in the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall Of Fame.

“I’d like to thank The Hall of Fame, all his fans, as well as everyone who voted for him. Donna Vowles at Kiltinan Stud who foaled and weaned him, John Gosden who managed his career so brilliantly, and the staff at Clarehaven who were all instrumental in his success.

“I must also congratulate the other nominees and their connections. Ardross, Le Moss, Persian Punch and Yeats were all tremendous, legendary stayers and it was an honour for Stradivarius to be included in this list.”

When Nielsen retired Stradivarius to stud as an eight-year-old at the end of 2022, he had won a record 18 European Group races on the Flat and made the frame in another ten. He was a not only a record-breaking horse, but also one with speed, stamina and spirit in equal measure.

Most of Stradivarius’ wins, usually achieved by swooping from off the pace, came under Frankie Dettori, although Robert Tart, Rab Havlin and Andrea Atzeni also enjoyed victories on him. His pace and ability to keep up the gallop as others wilted, made for a potent combination that overwhelmed opposition time and again at the highest level.

In addition to three successive Gold Cup victories at Royal Ascot and the four Goodwood Cups, he won three Yorkshire Cups, three Lonsdale Cups, two Doncaster Cups, a QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, a Sagaro Stakes and a Queen’s Vase. And he had won the hearts of all racing fans long before his final race, when beaten a neck by another supreme stayer, Kyprios, in an epic renewal of the 2022 Goodwood Cup.

If all that were not enough, he was in his prime at a time when Weatherbys Hamilton, the insurance broker, offered a £1 million bonus to any horse who won four top staying races in the same season, including the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup. Many scoffed at the notion, not least because no horse had previously won the designated programme of contests. But they had bargained without Stradivarius, who achieved the feat at his first attempt in 2018. Weatherbys Hamilton took a view that lightning could not strike twice and offered the same incentive the following year.

Remarkably, Stradivarius made them pay for a second time during a glorious ten-race sequence when he was invincible. Having dished out £2 million, divided between the owner, trainer, jockeys and stable staff, the firm resisted dangling the carrot a third time.

In total, Stradivarius won his connections more than £5 million. We were all richer for his presence, and there can be little doubt that the horse enjoyed himself, too. The flashy chestnut with a blaze and three white socks was renowned for being playful at home, delighting in showing what he could do prancing around on his hind legs.

Stradivarius also won an incredible 16 QIPCO British Champions Series races, the most in Series history, He remains far clear of next best and now fellow QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Famer, Frankel (nine Series wins) and it will inevitably be some time before this feat is matched.

Hall of Fame judge and Racing Post Director Alan Byrne said: “Few horses have the talent to win Group races. To compete in, never mind win, the highest quality staying contests season after season, between the ages of three and eight, is an extraordinary achievement. Those hoping to see his deeds matched may need to live a long time.”