Round three of the heavyweight staying clash between Stradivarius and Trueshan could be on the cards in the Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup Stakes as both the two-time winner of the race and the pretender to his long-distance crown figured among the 10 confirmations for York’s one-mile-six-furlong event.
Stradivarius was successful in this race in both 2018 and 2019, but the three-time Gold Cup winner had to settle for a place on the podium behind Alan King’s ever-improving stayer in both the Prix du Cadran and British Champions Long Distance Cup in the latter stages of last season.
Unbeaten in Yorkshire, John and Thady Gosden’s eight-year-old knows every blade of Knavesmire turf, but will have to also concede a fitness edge to his two years younger rival, with Trueshan already stepping out at Nottingham in the early stages of the campaign.
The six-year-old extended his winning run to four when landing that Further Flight Stakes, but there may need to be rainfall over the next week if the general 5-2 favourite for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot is to make the line-up for this Group Two Prize.
Tashkhan was only a length and a half behind Trueshan at Ascot in October, but faded into fifth when returning to the Berkshire track for the Sagaro Stakes last month, while a place ahead of Brian Ellison’s charge in that Group Three event was Aidan O’Brien’s Wordsworth.
Last year’s Irish Derby third was beaten less than a length in a thrilling finish to that recognised Gold Cup trial and is one of two possible runners for the master of Ballydoyle alongside Kyprios, who will be hoping to confirm recent Navan form over fellow Irish raider Search For A Song.
John Porter Stakes winner Max Vega and Prix Royal-Oak victor Scope could both represent Ralph Beckett, with Ormonde Stakes runner-up Thunderous and Andrew Balding’s Morando others who could line-up for staying action next Friday.