Frankie Dettori is preparing himself an “emotional” day at York on Friday when he is reunited with Stradivarius in the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup.
John and Thady Gosden’s superstar stayer is unbeaten in five previous visits to the Knavesmire, winning this Group Two prize in 2018 and 2019 before completing a Lonsdale Cup hat-trick last summer.
The son of Sea The Stars was beaten by the up-and-coming star of the division on his final two starts of last season in Trueshan, who could again be in opposition at York.
But while retirement was considered, sporting owner Bjorn Nielsen decided to bring back Stradivarius as an eight-year-old and he is poised to make his reappearance on Friday.
“He’s won all of his five races at York, more than at any other track, and I’m sure the Yorkshire crowd will give him an amazing final farewell,” Dettori told Sporting Index.
“Win, lose or draw, I’ll lead him in front of the grandstands and let the crowds give him their final goodbye.
“It will be emotional riding him all year to be honest. He’s loved by everyone and has done so much for racing, where do you even start with a horse like him? He’s a one-off.”
Stradivarius has amassed a remarkable haul of big-race victories, with three Gold Cups at Royal Ascot, four Goodwood Cups and two Doncaster Cups also featuring on a glittering CV.
Dettori added: “Everyone knows how much I loved Enable, and she went on until six whereas this boy is now eight. Believe it or not, I’ve won more Group races on him than Enable!
“He’s never let us down so I’m not too worried about how he might run, even if he isn’t getting any younger.
“He’s getting a little bit clever in his old age, but when push comes to shove, he’s always there for me.”