Ellison eyeing top staying prizes for Ascot second Tashkhan

Brian Ellison’s Tashkhan will aim to continue his rise to the top of the staying division after his valiant performance when runner up in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.

Ellison, a dual-purpose trainer, had intentions of ultimately going hurdling with Tashkhan, but a handful of runs in handicap company on the Flat saw him improve markedly and begin to pick up valuable races.

His handicapping form reached a peak when he took home over £50,000 when winning at Haydock in July, and by early October he was making his Group-race debut in the Prix Chaudenay at ParisLongchamp.

Fifth that day, the gelding was far from out of his depth having started at 35-1 under Ben Robinson.

Ascot’s Long Distance Cup was another foray into Group Two company and this time Tashkhan was sent off at 50-1, odds he completely defied when chasing home evens favourite Trueshan to finish second – beating the great Stradivarius into third in the process.

“He ran really well,” Ellison said.

“He’s done nothing but continue to improve with every run he’s had – this year he’s improved massively.

“He won off 57 at the start of the year with Emmet Mullins then we bought him after that.

“We bought him to go hurdling but he never stopped improving, I don’t think he’ll be going hurdling now!

“He was fantastic, absolutely brilliant.

“The owner is over the moon, he was there with all his family yesterday. I must say that the jockey gave him a great ride as well, Ben is underrated.”

The son of Born To Sea will now be given a break over the winter with the key staying races, such as the Gold Cup at Ascot, on his agenda next term.

Ellison added: “He’s going to have a holiday, he’s turned up in every race he’s run in and he’s run some great races this year.

“He’s picked up £180,000 (this season), Saturday was probably his best run, next year we’ll plan for the Gold Cup and races like that.

“He’s a lovely horse to have and nice horse to train, he causes us no problems. He’s as tough as boots and he’s come out of the race very well this morning.”

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