Stradivarius tops eight seeking Yorkshire Cup honours

Stradivarius winning the Goodwod Cup (John Walton/PA)

Last year’s Goodwood Cup winner Stradivarius will begin his bid for staying honours in 2018 when he lines-up for the MansionBet Yorkshire Cup at York on Friday.

John Gosden’s classy long-distance horse had a successful three-year-old career. Not only did he lower the colours of Gold Cup hero Big Orange, but he was also a highly-creditable third in both the St Leger and the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Stradivarius makes his reappearance in this Group Two contest over a mile and three-quarters which is one of the first legs in the WH Stayers’ Million.

Should he be victorious on Friday, he would be in line for the £1million bonus on offer for any horse that wins one of four prep events in May before going on to claim the Gold Cup at Ascot, the Goodwood Cup and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.

Irish trainer Willie Mullins has left in both Max Dynamite and Wicklow Brave, who both ran over hurdles at last month’s Punchestown Festival.

Peter Niven’s 2016 winner Clever Cookie will attempt to strike again at the age of 10.

The William Haggas-trained Call To Mind is owned by the Queen who won with Dartmouth last year. Desert Skyline, Count Octave and On To Victory complete the octet.