WHAT A PERFORMANCE! 😲— York Racecourse (@yorkracecourse) August 19, 2022
🏇 Quickthorn wins the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes by a wide margin under Tom Marquand for Hughie Morrison 👏@TomMarquand @weatherbysltd @SkyBet #EborFestival pic.twitter.com/ffMbk3wT0H
Tom Marquand set off in front on Quickthorn, soon set up a clear lead, and never looked like losing it.
Lady Blyth's progressive stayer, who had won his two previous starts by a combined total of three lengths, passed the post a remarkable 14 lengths clear of Coltrane, who short-headed Reshoun for second.
"I was pretty blown away by him," admitted Marquand, who had been happy to let the winner bowl along in front.
"You could break his stride but what's the point?" the jockey said. "He's an exuberant stayer with a full tank underneath him. He's sensible enough that he doesn't overcook it, he's just bowling.
"I knew I'd stretched away from them down the back. He never really took a breather and at the two I gave him a couple of flicks because he had a look at the crowd, but I heard the commentary and looked up at the big screen and took a bit of a sit."
The winner had finished second in the Ebor Handicap at this meeting last year and has now won a group 3 race and two group 2s this term.
"I was really impressed," Marquand said. "You almost wish the big guns had run today just to see what might have happened.
"He's done that on ground that's probably a bit quicker than ideal. He definitely felt better on slower ground, which leaves you excited for what the future may hold—he's only just getting going."
Trainer Hughie Morrison was equally impressed and said: "He just keeps galloping. Most horses when they go off in front like that die three furlongs out. He obviously didn't, he'd won the race four out.
"He's an improving 5-year-old, he's probably improved a stone this year. I'm disappointed the other two didn't turn up. He'd certainly have given them a race today."
Race favorite Stradivarius, who would have been chasing his fourth straight Lonsdale Cup title, was withdrawn from the race Friday morning with a bruised foot.
"We did a routine check at 5 a.m. and found he had heat in his foot," joint-trainer John Gosden said. "We didn't mess about and spoke to the owner and took him out sharpish before the box left at 5:30. It's unfortunate, but he's never missed a dance in his life."
Alan King, who trains Trueshan, took the same action after walking the course just half an hour before the race and encountering conditions which he considered would be too quick for his stable star.
Ease in the ground is crucial to Trueshan, the highest-rated stayer since Yeats according to Racing Post Ratings, performing to his best.
He reveled in soft ground when landing his two group 1 wins last year in the Cadran and Goodwood Cup, and King was not willing to risk his 6-year-old at York after the forecast overnight rain failed to materialize.
“It’s drying all the time,” King said. “It’s too quick. The wrong call today and he comes back jarred and might miss the Cadran and Ascot, I’m afraid.”
The extent of the setback suffered by Stradivarius has yet to be revealed but, given a quick recovery, he could well lock horns with his great rival in the Town Moor Doncaster Cup (G2) on Sept. 9, a race he won in 2019 and 2021.
Entries for the Doncaster Cup have yet to be made, but both stayers are already engaged in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (G2) at Ascot in October.
There is also a chance the pair could meet in the Prix du Cadran (G1) at ParisLongchamp, a race in which Trueshan slammed Stradivarius by four and a half lengths on very testing ground last October.