Tag Archive for: Alan King

Trueshan all set for ‘tough’ Sagaro return

Alan King reports all is well with Trueshan ahead of his seasonal reappearance in the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, but admits carrying a Group One penalty will make things tough for his valiant veteran.

The eight-year-old has to concede weight all round as a result of following up last September’s Doncaster Cup triumph with an elite-level success in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp later the same month.

Having finished only fourth behind the reopposing Coltrane on level terms in this race 12 months ago, King’s concerns are understandable, especially as that old rival and the Hughie Morrison-trained Quickthorn are currently rated 1lb superior on official ratings.

However, Trueshan’s home work and the recent rain in Berkshire do give more cause for optimism.

“I do think he probably needs a personal best, as there are two horses rated above him and he has to give them 7lb,” said King.

“He’s in great form and Hollie (Doyle) rode him work at home on Saturday morning. I’m not sure she has ever ridden him work at home, but she came in and she was delighted with him.

Betfred St Leger Festival – Doncaster Cup Day – Doncaster Racecourse
Trueshan ridden by Hollie Doyle (left) winning the Doncaster Cup (Tom Goode/PA).

“The forecast is encouraging and he’s ready to start. Conceding weight to Hughie’s horse and Coltrane will be tough, but it’s a nice starting point.”

Last year, Trueshan kicked off his campaign with a narrow reversal to Rajinsky at Nottingham, but the abandoned Further Flight Stakes was never on the table this season, with the gelding given a wind-op this spring.

King added: “We had done his wind a week or so before, so we couldn’t have taken him to Nottingham anyway.

“We did it last year and the soft palate is something you can probably do annually with some horses. Although I had no inclination there is a problem, we just had it done again.”

Coltrane followed up an emphatic victory in last season’s renewal by finishing a fine second to Courage Mon Ami in the Ascot Gold Cup and benefits from his Lonsdale Cup victory over that horse at York falling just before the end-of-August cut-off point for penalties here.

Andrew Balding’s seven-year-old must put a below-par effort in the Dubai Gold Cup behind him, but regular rider Oisin Murphy is hoping the fitting of cheekpieces will inspire a return to form.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “Coltrane disappointed in Dubai but horses can do that. He’s been a great servant and had a terrific year last year, obviously winning this race.

“He’s been working well and he’ll wear cheekpieces, which might just help him take the bridle. I’m looking forward to getting back on him and as long as he stays healthy and is enjoying it, there’s no doubt he can get back to the level he was at.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Sweet William progressed through the ranks last term, completing a hat-trick in handicap company at Glorious Goodwood before finishing a rock-solid second to Absurde in the Ebor at York and then chasing home Trueshan at Doncaster.

“He’s in great form,” said Gosden senior. “He’s the ultimate character and he’s a lot of fun. He just got pipped off in the Ebor and we’re looking forward to running him in the Sagaro.

Qatar Goodwood Festival 2023 – Day Five – Goodwood Racecourse
Sweet William winning at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA).

“He stays well and he’s one of those enigmatic horses who is fun to train. He’ll handle soft no problem, as he did at Goodwood that day.”

Quickthorn was given an enterprising ride by Tom Marquand when making all to win last season’s Goodwood Cup by six lengths from Emily Dickinson and Coltrane.

The line-up is completed by David Menuisier’s Caius Chorister, who was last seen scoring in Group Three company at Saint-Cloud in October on very soft ground.

Edwardstone in top trim as Champion Chase date awaits

Alan King is keen to let Edwardstone “do the talking” as he prepares to take on old foe Jonbon and red-hot favourite El Fabiolo in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

Having saddled the currently sidelined Energumene to claim back-to-back victories in the day two feature, Willie Mullins will have high hopes of making it a hat-trick with El Fabiolo, who won the Arkle at last season’s Festival and is six from six over fences overall.

The horse rated his biggest threat is Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon, who has won four of his five starts since finishing best of the rest behind El Fabiolo 12 months ago, but was turned over at prohibitive odds by Elixir De Nutz in the rescheduled Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham in late January.

Edwardstone, winner of the 2022 Arkle for Alan King, was no match for Jonbon in either the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham or when defending his crown in the Tingle Creek at Sandown earlier in the season, but bounced back to winning ways with a brilliant display in last month’s Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

While respectful of the opposition, King, who won the 2007 Champion Chase with Voy Por Ustedes, feels his charge is as good as he ever was at the age of 10 and is looking forward to the challenge.

“He’s absolutely fine, he did his last bit of strong work yesterday and schooled this morning, all seems well,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

“Most of the hard work is done, he’ll have a little breeze at the weekend but nothing too strenuous.

“Touch wood we’ve had a beautiful, clear preparation. He’s not been overly-raced and he’s certainly working as well as he’s ever done, so we’re happy.

“No disrespect to the horses we beat at Newbury, but this is a different ball game. I have great respect for the two favourites and we’ll just let Edwardstone do the talking.”

El Fabiolo winning at Leopardstown's Dublin Racing Festival
El Fabiolo winning at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival (Niall Carson/PA)

El Fabiolo, Jonbon and Edwardstone are three of eight horses still in contention for the Champion Chase following the confirmation stage.

Mullins is also set to saddle Gentleman De Mee, with Henry de Bromhead’s Captain Guinness – runner-up to Energumene in last year’s renewal – also set to make the trip from Ireland.

Jonbon’s Clarence House conqueror Elixir De Nutz (Joe Tizzard), Boothill (Harry Fry) and Funambule Sivola (Venetia Williams) complete the octet.

Cannon convinced Edwardstone can make Champion Chase impact

Tom Cannon is confident Edwardstone can play a major role in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase if reproducing his resurgent Game Spirit heroics at the Cheltenham Festival.

Alan King’s star chaser bounced back to his very best to produce a blistering front-running display at Newbury earlier this month, a victory that gave the Barbury Castle handler his second win in the Grade Two event alongside Sceau Royal.

It was Edwardstone’s first triumph since the 2022 Tingle Creek and having snapped a six-race losing run, the 10-year-old is now the general 8-1 third-favourite for the Champion Chase behind Willie Mullins’ El Fabiolo and regular adversary Jonbon.

Cannon said: “He must have put himself right in the mix. Hopefully he will be a bit closer to Jonbon given a change of tactics and anything more than that is a bonus, I think.

“If he turns up in the same form as he did at Newbury, we know he acts round Cheltenham so we keep our fingers crossed to get there in A1 condition and anything after that is in the lap of the gods.”

Edwardstone gave Cannon one of the biggest days of his career when waltzing to Arkle glory at the Festival in 2022, but there was disappointment 12 months later when sent off 15-8 second-favourite for the Champion Chase, tailing home in fifth and beaten 64 lengths by an imperious Energumene.

However, the jockey feels Edwardstone is heading for his second bite of the Champion Chase cherry in much better form and has been extremely encouraged by the feel his partner has given him throughout the current campaign.

Jockey Tom Cannon after winning the Arkle aboard Edwardstone in 2022
Jockey Tom Cannon after winning the Arkle aboard Edwardstone in 2022 (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He probably wasn’t going into it in as good a form as he is this year, last year. So if he can continue the form he is in now, hopefully he will be thereabouts,” continued Cannon.

“He’s been a different horse since he has come back in this year. The first race at Cheltenham in the Shloer Chase he felt back to himself and the couple of times he had run at Cheltenham the season before he had never really picked the bridle up.

“In the Shloer, he picked the bridle up and pulled my arms off like he used to and then obviously ran very well in the Tingle Creek. Two-mile-four wasn’t to his liking at Kempton, but back to two miles at Newbury seemed to suit him, so you have to look forward to it (the Champion Chase).

“If we can get into a nice rhythm, then the best horse will win at the end of the day.”

Edwardstone roars back to form in Game Spirit

Edwardstone cruised to victory in the Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

The 11-10 favourite under Tom Cannon, Alan King’s gelding made all of the running in the four-runner Grade Two.

His significant lead looked to lessen slightly with half of the race completed, but the gap soon widened again and was further increased when Boothill fell in the home straight.

Amarillo Sky did not finish either, leaving Funambule Sivola to trail home as the only other finisher some 40 lengths behind.

Edwardstone was a very comfortable winner
Edwardstone was a very comfortable winner (Adam Davy/PA)

King said: “It’s been the plan for some time (to make the running. I thought after Kempton when we disappointed him over two and a half (miles) and kept bringing him back, we would come here and pop out and try that.

“He was racing within himself and I think Tom was happy and able to get a breather in coming to cross-fence and away he went again. It has given me an awful lot of satisfaction.”

Edwardstone was notching his first victory since landing the 2022 Tingle Creek Chase and Coral responded to his sparkling success by cutting him to 8-1 from 14s for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

King confirmed that race would be next, saying: “Jonbon and El Fabiolo are the main horses but I think we will be taking them on – I certainly won’t be going to the Ryanair.

“As long as he comes out of this all right, he will go for the Queen Mother and I have huge respect for both Jonbon and El Fabiolo. Jonbon has beaten us twice this season and Willie’s horse looked awfully good last week.

“It’s exciting and I think we’re in the mix now, hopefully. Those tactics worked today but might not be the thing to do at Cheltenham, but we will worry about that nearer the time.”

King credited a return to ways of the past for the upturn in Edwardstone’s fortunes.

The Barbury Castle handler explained that his string were now working three times up the hill at home, a return to the schedule the likes of Voy Por Ustedes and My Way De Solzen would adhere to prior to big-race assignments.

King added: “I think it’s the best mine have been all season. I was lying there on holiday a few weeks ago after a few of mine hadn’t been running terribly well and I was thinking ‘what the hell is wrong’.

“I know I haven’t got the firepower I used to have, but bad horses used to win and that wasn’t happening.

“We’ve only been doing two and we trained plenty of winners doing two up the hill, but not as many as we used to and a lot of horses were finishing second and I just felt that from the back of the last, they weren’t finishing the way they used to.

“We’ve drilled these horses the last few weeks. It’s how I used to do it. Voy Por and My Way all used to do three.

“I think the results are speaking for themselves. Let’s hope it continues.”

Headway makes all for Newbury glory

Making Headway proved well named as he made all the running to secure his spot at the Cheltenham Festival by taking the Betfair Racing Podcasts Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero’s six-year-old has been highly tried since scoring at Carlisle on debut, finishing second in a Grade Two at Haydock before heading to the highest level at Aintree on Boxing Day.

He finished fourth on that occasion and back in calmer waters, he was sent off the 6-4 favourite in the hands of Henry Brooke as he showed his quality to land a decisive one-and-a-quarter-length success.

“We were a bit worried when Nicky Henderson and Jonjo O’Neill’s horses were being backed, but we’ve always liked him and he’s so straightforward and wants further,” said Greenall.

“It’s hard to do that from the front and he’s looking about and it’s tough for Henry to know what speed he is going. It didn’t look to be that quick, but Josh text me to say they were going 29 to 30 miles per hour – on heavy ground, that is probably quick enough.

“As soon as they have come to him and given him some company, he has gone on again and he had his ears pricked crossing the line.”

Stable star Iroko provided the Greenall and Guerriero team with their first Cheltenham Festival success in last year’s Martin Pipe and that is one of the options available to their latest star novice.

Greenall added: “We will get him entered in the Coral Cup and the Martin Pipe and I think a step up in trip will bring about a better performance. Hopefully the handicapper will base the race on him and his mark shouldn’t alter.

Oliver Greenall has always rated Making Headway
Oliver Greenall has always rated Making Headway (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Iroko had that season juvenile hurdling and was a lot more streetwise and that would be my only concern about going to Cheltenham with Making Headway.

“We were probably in two minds before today whether we would go to Cheltenham because he is a rawer type – Iroko being more of a French type running in those good juvenile hurdles – but to be fair to this lad, when he went up in grade at Haydock and Aintree he looked flat out but jumped very well, which I think is a sign of a very good horse, so he would have that in his favour.”

One horse not heading to Cheltenham is Dan Skelton’s Royal Infantry, who impressed when landing the concluding Betfair Exchange Beacons Bumper.

The 9-2 chance landed the Listed event in cosy fashion to tee-up a trip to Aintree instead of Prestbury Park in the spring.

Skelton said: “The hint is the races he has won have been at flat tracks. He will get his chance to go round Cheltenham, but I just think subjecting him to that in four and a bit weeks, we can probably do a bit better by him at the moment.

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t run him there if it wasn’t the right thing to do. But Let It Rain is going to go there and she gets a 7lb allowance.”

Also set to be kept to low-key assignments is Paul Nicholls’ Makin’yourmindup, who got his chasing career up and running in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

“He’s a lovely, big horse who has taken plenty of time and stays forever,” said Nicholls.

Makin’yourmindup got off the mark over fences
Makin’yourmindup got off the mark over fences (Adam Davy/PA)

“He will be next year’s horse to run in all of those staying marathon races.

“He doesn’t want to run too quick and we will run him another one or two times. It will probably be similar types of races and I’m not going to be taking him to silly races because he probably lacks a bit of pace to run at Aintree or Cheltenham and in those better races.

“There will be races for him when there is cut in the ground and maybe something like the nice novice handicap at Ayr. He has to go left-handed, we’ve worked that one out and going right doesn’t suit him, but he’s a lovely prospect and he’s learning all the time.”

Alan King described the Betfair Serial Winners Fund Handicap Hurdle as Emitom’s “Gold Cup” as he registered his second Newbury triumph.

The 10-year-old had to battle hard to see off 3-1 favourite Kyntara, with King believing the game veteran is unlikely to compete in the Pertemps Final at Prestbury Park next month.

Emitom winning the Betfair Serial Winners Fund Handicap Hurdle
Emitom winning the Betfair Serial Winners Fund Handicap Hurdle (Adam Davy/PA)

“He was brave and since we’ve had him, he’s only disappointed me once,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

“We probably over-faced him in the valuable race up at Haydock – it was too competitive and he never really went a yard.

“We gave him a little break and he bumped into a proper horse of Jonjo’s at Ludlow (Saint Davy) and we were very happy with him leading into this.

“He likes Newbury and this was his Gold Cup. He’ll want plenty of time and had a tough old race today, so we will give him a month and we haven’t really looked beyond today.”

Edwardstone aiming to show winning Spirit at Newbury

Edwardstone bids to get his season back on track in the Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

Winner of the Arkle at Cheltenham and the Tingle Creek at Sandown two years ago, Alan King’s stable star kicked off this season by chasing home the Nicky Henderson-trained Jonbon in successive races.

As a result, Edwardstone was stepped up in trip for last month’s Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton, but faded tamely after racing keenly and came home a well beaten last of four finishers.

King believes the decision to hold up the 10-year-old in a bid to conserve his stamina may have backfired and he is looking forward to seeing him return to two miles on Saturday, albeit in testing conditions.

Alan King (right) with Edwardstone and his connections
Alan King (right) with Edwardstone and his connections (Steven Paston/PA)

“All is well, he seemed to come out of that run (at Kempton) in good form and he’s done plenty of work since,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

“I need to get him out and the ground is the same for all of them. He’s got form on heavy ground, I’m not saying he’s at his best on it, but he has gone on it and I’m very keen to run him.

“Kempton was disappointing and we don’t really know why, whether we disappointed him by taking him back, I’m not sure, but I’m inclined to put a line through that and we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

Edwardstone is entered in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase at next month’s Cheltenham Festival but King added: “I’m not even thinking about Cheltenham, I want to get Saturday out of the way and then we’ll see.”

His biggest threat this weekend appears to be Boothill, who won a couple of lucrative handicaps at Ascot in the autumn before falling as favourite for Kempton’s Desert Orchid Chase over the Christmas period.

Trainer Harry Fry has been pleased with his nine-year-old since, but will check on the ground before confirming his participation on Saturday.

He said: “He seems in good form with himself, he was thankfully none the worse for his fall and has schooled well since.

“It was obviously frustrating at Kempton, but we get to go again and this has always really been the plan. We are just mindful though that conditions could be testing enough, so we’ll just see when we get there how it’s riding and go from there.

“We took him out earlier in the season on heavy ground at Sandown in the Tingle Creek, so that’s the only slight reservation I have.

“He’s got form on soft, but heavy is a different ballgame.”

The Venetia Williams-trained Funambule Sivola is out to secure a third successive victory in this Grade Two contest, but will need to bounce back from a disappointing run of form.

With Calico and Editeur Du Gite declared non-runners, the field is completed by Joe Tizzard’s Amarillo Sky, who makes his first competitive appearance since finishing fourth in last year’s Clarence House.

Cheltenham possibles lining up for Chatteris Fen challenge

Whispering Royal will attempt to put himself in the Cheltenham Festival picture when he lines up in the Weatherbys Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon on Friday.

A useful cast of six have assembled for another competitive running of the juvenile event, with Paul Nicholls’ French import Kabral Du Mathan heading most bookmakers lists ahead of his first outing for the Ditcheat team.

Whispering Royal has already tasted defeat at the hands of the same connections’ Liari earlier in the season, but stepped up markedly on that Wincanton third when a taking winner at Doncaster last month.

Alan King’s youngster now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of recently-retired Barbury Castle stalwart Sceau Royal, who won this contest in 2016, while also going a step closer to booking his ticket to Prestbury Park in the spring.

“It looks like a hot race on paper, as it always is,” said Ella McNeill, National Hunt racing manager for owners Chelsea Thoroughbreds.

“Alan has been really pleased with him at home and he’s a horse that takes his racing really well. He’s been running since the beginning of the summer on the Flat and I hope we go there with a nice chance.

“I think he prefers the better side of soft so hopefully it keeps drying out and doesn’t get too tacky, but I think we will really know what we have got on Friday.

“He obviously won really nicely at Doncaster in the middle of December and I think this is the perfect next race to see what we have really.

“I think most of the horses in there will be looking at the Boodles (Fred Winter) at the Festival so it is nice timing in terms of it being six weeks until Cheltenham. We will see if we can go there after this.”

Gary Moore has won this with Kotmask and Perseus Way in the past two years and will be relying on wide-margin Fontwell scorer Soigneux Bell to bring up the hat-trick.

“He schooled well over hurdles, but then the first time I ran him over them he was disappointing and he was disappointing the next day at Huntingdon,” said Moore.

“When he won at Fontwell I was much happier, and I think he is just starting to come together.

“He needs to improve a lot to win this on Friday, but I did have this race earmarked out for him.

“He seemed much happier on the softer ground the other day as it was his first time on it over here since coming over from France. Hopefully he will continue improving.”

Although that was Soigneux Bell’s first victory in the three starts over obstacles at Fontwell, Moore is yet to totally give up on the four-year-old taking his place at the Festival in March.

He added: “I hoped this lad was going to be a Triumph Hurdle horse, but I don’t think he is that at the moment. He would have to win well on Friday and prove me wrong.

“There are some nice handicaps at the end of the season for juveniles and that is the route he is likely to go down.

“If the owners want to go to the Cheltenham Festival then he would run in the Fred Winter (Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle), but he would need to go up in the handicap to get in that.”

Edwardstone set for step up in trip

Alan King has identified the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton as a possible next port of call for Edwardstone following his admirable defence of the Tingle Creek on Saturday.

The nine-year-old was a brilliant winner of the Sandown showpiece last season and returned to the Esher track to defend his crown over the weekend.

Edwardstone had plenty on his plate as he looked to turn the tables on Jonbon following their clash in last month’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham – and while he again came off second best, he did at least close the gap on Nicky Henderson’s star chaser.

King immediately ruled out an appearance over three miles in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, but the Barbury Castle handler is keen to step his charge up in trip on his next start.

Alan King (right) with Edwardstone and his connections
Alan King (right) with Edwardstone and his connections (Steven Paston/PA)

“He ran very well and has come out of it well and we’ll probably look to step him up to two-and-a-half in the new year,” he said.

“He’s definitely not going for the King George, but there is the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton in January. We’ll have a look at that and, whether he goes there or not, I think his next run will be over two-and-a-half, as it will give us an idea what we’re doing with him.”

With the Queen Mother Champion Chase already shaping up to be a straight shootout between Jonbon and his formidable Irish rival El Fabiolo, the Ryanair Chase could end up being Edwardstone’s Cheltenham Festival target if he can prove his stamina in the meantime.

King added: “You’ve obviously got Jonbon and the horse in Ireland and you wouldn’t really look forward to taking those two on.”

King wary of Jonbon threat to Edwardstone’s title

Edwardstone returns to the scene of some of his finest triumphs to defend his Betfair Tingle Creek Chase crown on Saturday.

Alan King’s nine-year-old has won on this card for the past two seasons, securing his first Grade One when picking up the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase in 2021 before returning 12 months ago to take home first prize in the feature event of Sandown’s pre-Christmas meeting in emphatic style.

That nine-length success over Greaneteen is the last time Edwardstone has got his head in front, with four subsequent outings bringing little to cheer about.

However, having blown away the cobwebs behind Jonbon in the Shloer Chase, he will now bid to continue his Sandown love affair, with King confirming his Peterborough Chase declaration at Huntingdon on Sunday is only a back-up plan in case wet weather curtails the action in Esher.

The trainer said: “He goes to Sandown and I only put him in at Huntingdon in case Sandown is abandoned. They have got a lot of rain coming in there tomorrow and it is possible.

“He’s going there and the horse is going to have to do the talking now.”

King had previously seen Voy Por Ustedes finish second in both 2006 and 2007 and then saddled Kumbeshwar to chase home Sprinter Sacre in 2012 before finally getting his hands on the Tingle Creek trophy 12 months ago, but he admits Edwardstone faces a stiff task defending his crown against Jonbon.

Edwardstone in action at Cheltenham
Edwardstone in action at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

He added: “Of course it’s (nice) to go there (as defending champion) but we didn’t have Jonbon to contend with last year.”

Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra was back in third when defending his Shloer Chase crown at Cheltenham and now has to bounce back to the form that saw him down Altior in December 2020 and also finish runner-up in the Champion Chase the following spring.

Meanwhile, Harry Fry had suggested Boothill would wait for the Clarence House Chase at his beloved Ascot for his return to deep waters, but a rethink sees him take another crack at Jonbon on the back of two taking victories this term that justify leaving handicap company.

The eight-year-old was eight lengths adrift of Jonbon when second in last season’s Henry VIII and Fry said: “I think he deserves another go in Grade One company again.

“On ratings, he’s got a bit to find with the likes of Jonbon, and on the form of the Henry VIII last year, but he seems in great order with himself and you’ve got to be in it to stand any chance of winning it.”

Haddex Des Obeaux is the lowest rated of the field on official figures but was an ultra-progressive performer last term and was in contention to make a winning return at Cheltenham last month before falling at the last with the race in the balance.

He now faces an acid test of his ability, thrust into Grade One company, but Gary Moore hopes there is still more to be seen from the likeable six-year-old.

“It’s a massive day for him and if he can do himself justice, then I would be very happy about it,” said Moore.

Haddex Des Obeaux is upped in class at Sandown on Saturday
Haddex Des Obeaux is upped in class at Sandown on Saturday (Nigel French/PA)

“I’m fully aware it is not going to be easy for him but he does love soft ground and jumping, so he’s got that on his side, as far as I’m concerned.

“He will have 100 per cent come on for his outing at Cheltenham and he can only improve.

“I go there with an open mind and if you aren’t in them, you can’t win them. If we run into place money, then so be it.”

Wait and see for King on Edwardstone plans

Alan King will wait until later in the week before making a final decision on whether Edwardstone will defend his Tingle Creek crown on Saturday, or step up in trip for Sunday’s Peterborough Chase.

The nine-year-old secured a third Grade One with an impressive victory in the Tingle Creek at Sandown 12 months ago, but is winless in four starts since.

He was no match for Nicky Henderson’s Tingle Creek favourite Jonbon on his reappearance in last month’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham, leading to suggestions Edwardstone is now in need of a more searching test of stamina.

King has the option of stepping his stable star up to two and a half mile for the first time over fences in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon, but plans are up in the air at this stage.

Alan King (right) with Edwardstone and his connections
Alan King (right) with Edwardstone and his connections (Steven Paston/PA)

“I’ve no idea where he’s going,” King said on Tuesday.

“He’ll work tomorrow and I’ll speak to the owners on Thursday. I need to see what the weather is like, Huntingdon is currently waterlogged, so I really don’t know.

“It depends on the ground and everything and I need to see what the owners want to do as well.

“He scoped today, he’ll work tomorrow and then we’ll see.”

Edwardstone also holds an entry over three miles in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

King contemplating next step for Edwardstone

Alan King was pleased to “erase the memory” of Edwardstone’s no-show in the Champion Chase in March when chasing home Jonbon in the Shloer Chase on Sunday.

King now has to decide, with the help of connections, whether to take on Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon again in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 9 or step him up in trip for the Peterborough Chase the following day.

King has been musing for some time now that Edwardstone may need further than two miles to be seen at his best.

He said on his website, www.alankingracing.co.uk: ”I thought it was a smashing run, and it was such a relief to see Edwardstone erase the memory of last March.

“Cheltenham is still a mystery, but we can now look forward and it is a case of deciding whether to have a rematch with Jonbon when we defend our Tingle Creek crown on December 9 or wait 24 hours so we can step him up to two and a half miles for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.”

Trueshan seeking fabulous Long Distance four-timer

Alan King is under no illusions about the task facing Trueshan as he prepares to lock horns with the formidable Kyprios in his bid for a fourth victory in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Trueshan was a brilliant winner of the Champions Day curtain-raiser in 2020 and has knuckled down in each of the past two seasons to complete the hat-trick.

There were some suggestions the seven-year-old was past his best after he was beaten in his first two starts this year, but subsequent victories in the Doncaster Cup and particularly when winning the Prix du Cadran three weeks ago suggest he is back to his best.

King said: “I’m very happy with him, he came out of the Cadran in great form and everything has gone according to plan really.

“The ground looks like it should be nice and soft and we can’t do any more.

“Not many horses get to come back for the same race three years running, let alone four, and getting him back to form to win at Doncaster and Longchamp has been very satisfying.”

While confident he has his stable star in rude health, King is wary of the the threat posed by Aidan O’Brien’s Kyprios, who last season won the Gold Cup, the Goodwood Cup and the Irish St Leger before a scarcely believable 20-length demolition job in the Cadran.

Alan King has done a great job with Trueshan
Alan King has done a great job with Trueshan (David Davies/PA)

The five-year-old missed the first half of the current campaign through injury, but King feels there was plenty of promise on his comeback second to Eldar Eldarov in last month’s Irish Leger.

He added: “I thought he ran very well against a mile-and-six specialist the other day. That is Eldar Eldarov’s trip and I would have thought that was a very good comeback for him (Kyprios).”

Hollie Doyle has steered Trueshan to each of his three previous wins in the race is optimistic he can make it a four-timer on Saturday.

“He’s been such a great horse for everyone – for me, for Alan, for the owners and for the whole team at home. He never lets anyone down,” she said.

Trueshan and Hollie Doyle are a match made in heaven
Trueshan and Hollie Doyle are a match made in heaven (Tim Goode/PA)

“He’s staged quite a comeback this year and proved a lot of people wrong by winning the Doncaster Cup and the Prix du Cadran again.

“A fourth win here would be incredible, but it could definitely happen as he feels as good as ever.”

O’Brien is confident Kyprios will take a big step forward from his Irish St Leger effort, telling Sky Sports Racing: “He was barely ready to go away for a racecourse gallop really, so we were delighted with the run and everything has gone smoothly since.

“He has an incredible capacity as a stayer. He’s able to go an unbelievable gallop and just keeps going. That was what happened in the Cadran last year – it just shows the kind of ability he has.”

Andrew Balding’s Coltrane was beaten a head by Trueshan 12 months ago, but failed to fire when a hot favourite to beat him in the Doncaster Cup last month.

Coltrane winning the Lonsdale Cup at York
Coltrane winning the Lonsdale Cup at York (Simon Marper/PA)

Balding said: “Coltrane ran a hell of a race last year. It was a rare poor race (he ran) last time, and nothing came to light afterwards, but he’s entitled to run a poor one once in a while.”

John Gosden was forced to rule out his Gold Cup hero Courage Mon Ami earlier in the week but is nevertheless well represented, with Robert Havlin partnering Doncaster Cup runner-up Sweet William and Frankie Dettori aboard Trawlerman, winner of his last two starts.

“It looks like a good edition of the Long Distance Cup, in which Trawlerman and Sweet William are our runners, as Courage Mon Ami had a little niggle,” said Gosden.

“Trawlerman ran in the Long Distance Cup last year, finishing third, and he’s been an easy winner of both his races since he came back, at Salisbury and Newmarket. He’s in good form.”

O’Brien’s second-string Broome, the Willie Mullins-trained Stratum and Maxident from the Dominic Ffrench Davis yard complete the line-up.

Trueshan and Hollie Doyle unstoppable in Prix du Cadran

Trueshan galloped to a peerless victory under Hollie Doyle in the Qatar Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp.

Alan King’s popular gelding first landed the marathon contest from Stradivarius in 2021 and was well-fancied to win again in a field of six, having made a winning return after a break in the Doncaster Cup.

Sent off the 6-5 favourite, he led the way throughout from Frankie Dettori and Emily Dickinson, and when asked to quicken in the home straight he was easily able to pull clear of his rivals to secure an easy win from Moon Wolf and Run For Oscar.

King, who did not make the journey to Paris, said: “I had a busy morning at home and I’ve just walked into Newmarket, but obviously I’m thrilled.

“I spoke to Hollie this morning and we thought there wasn’t going to be much pace in the race. We said if that was the case we’d let him bowl along in front and he obviously loved it.

“He was more settled than he was at Doncaster and I think that was firstly because that run just knocked the freshness off him and second he just settled well in front today.

“We were struggling with him in the early part of the year, but the little wind operation we gave him as clearly helped and it looks like he’s right back to his best.”

Next on Trueshan’s agenda is a bid for a fourth consecutive victory in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on October 21.

“The good thing is we have a fresh horse for the backend of the season and obviously we hope to go back to Ascot in three weeks’ time to win that race for a fourth time,” King added.

“I’ll give him an entry in the Prix Royal-Oak the following week just in case he needs that extra time, but Ascot would be the plan.”

Doyle has now partnered Trueshan to 10 victories – and while he looked past his best after being beaten in his first two starts of 2023, the jockey feels he is now at the peak of his powers.

“He’s a special horse and all credit to everyone at Barbury Castle. He’s trained by a super trainer and it’s great for Alan to get him back to where he is, winning the Cadran for a second time,” she said.

“I was a little worried about the ground, but he got into a beautiful rhythm. My mum and dad are here and I don’t think my dad has seen me ride a Group One winner, so it’s extra special.

“I was disappointed at Doncaster, to be honest. I didn’t get a sense of happiness like I had today because to me he did it the wrong way round at Doncaster, whereas today he was foot perfect.”

Hollie Doyle with Trueshan and part-owner Andrew Gemmell
Hollie Doyle with Trueshan and part-owner Andrew Gemmell (PA)

Trueshan is part-owned by Andrew Gemmell, who was similarly thrilled.

He said: “It’s fantastic, I was a bit worried about the ground but he seemed to cope with it well.

“Hollie is a star and gets on so well with the horse. I’m just absolutely delighted. To win this race twice on ground that we weren’t sure about is brilliant.

“It’s great for Hollie, she didn’t have to press the accelerator too much did she? Let’s hope he can do it again in three weeks’ time at Ascot as that will be the fourth time he’s won that race.”

King plotting Cadran challenge for resurgent Trueshan

Alan King is keen to see Trueshan bid for a second win in the Qatar Prix du Cadran next week following his return to winning ways in the Doncaster Cup.

The seven-year-old had looked a shadow of his former self after being beaten in his first two starts of the campaign, but a mid-season wind operation appears to have done the trick judged on his resurgent performance under Hollie Doyle last Friday.

King said: “He did quite a lot wrong because he was so fresh. Surprised (by the win) I’m not so sure, but it was a certainly a relief more than anything.

“Obviously the wind op has helped big time. In his previous two races he hadn’t finished off at all so we were hoping it would make a difference, but you always want to see them go and do it on the track.

“We were delighted with him, I don’t know how strong the piece of form was but it certainly was a huge step to getting back towards his best.”

King has the option of waiting for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on October 21, a race Trueshan has won each of the past three seasons.

However, the Barbury Castle handler is first aiming to send his seven-year-old back to Paris for a Group One contest in which he memorably defeated Stradivarius in 2021.

Hollie Doyle after steering Trueshan to success at Doncaster
Hollie Doyle after steering Trueshan to success at Doncaster (Tim Goode/PA)

He added: “I’m going to try to get him to the Cadran. I’m away this week, but the boys at home seem pretty happy with him. He’s had two or three days on the water treadmill, which he loves.

“He will be back cantering at the end of the week, we’ll be doing a bit of work early next week and if everyone is happy, he’ll head to France.

“We did do the Cadran and Ascot a couple of years ago when there was only a fortnight between them and there’s three weeks this time, which gives me a bit more of a chance.

“We’ll go one stage at a time, but if I’m happy with him he’ll head to Longchamp.”

King raised the intriguing possibility of Trueshan pursuing a career over hurdles following his defeats at Nottingham and Ascot in the spring, but those plans have been shelved for the time being.

He said: “I would hope that if he runs well at Longchamp or Ascot or both then he won’t be going jumping.”

Trueshan tops Doncaster Cup rivals under inspired Doyle ride

Trueshan lit up Doncaster as he returned to his best to register a remarkable success in the Betfred Doncaster Cup Stakes.

Retirement appeared to be looming when the seven-year-old disappointed earlier in the season, but given a wind operation and a 135-day summer break, Alan King’s charge roared back to form on Town Moor.

Victory looked unlikely in the early stages of the Group Two contest as Trueshan refused to settle for Hollie Doyle, travelling keenly when held-up behind the steady early pace set by Ryan Moore aboard Broome.

Doyle allowed her mount to stride on approaching the turn for home and it proved to be a race-winning move from the rider as the long-distance veteran powered his way to the head of affairs.

With the rest of the field remaining glued to the inside rail, Trueshan set sail solo up the centre of the track, before edging his way across to battle John and Thady Gosden’s Sweet William who had emerged from the pack to lay down a stern challenge.

Trueshan, however, would not be denied and he stormed to the line to win by a length and a quarter.

Paddy Power and Betfair now make the 100-30 scorer a 5-1 shot to win the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup for a fourth straight year at Ascot on October 21.

Doyle said: “That was definitely not Plan A! It’s not the first time he’s given me a rodeo either, but he can still win because he’s so superior. He’s back to his best. To do it that way round he must be.

“He actually can settle beautifully if he can use himself but I just needed him on a stride. The thing today was we were going a pedestrian pace and it was breaking his stride, so when you are on a big horse like that I just let him bowl along and it was going to be make or break.

“He’s the kind of horse that when you let him have that bit of rein and use himself, he then doesn’t go anywhere!

“I had walked the track and spoken to the clerk of the course who told me that the better ground was up the middle. Obviously that was a risk because we raced on it yesterday but it worked out OK.

Hollie Doyle rode an inspired race on Trueshan
Hollie Doyle rode an inspired race on Trueshan (Tim Goode/PA)

“The wind op has definitely helped. At Ascot earlier this year, we hacked around and he curled up a furlong and a half out whereas today he proved he’s back to his best.

“I dread to think what Alan was saying on the way round, he was probably cursing, but thankfully it all worked out.

“I love him to bits. I rode him on his second ever run so I’ve been on him a while now, thankfully I haven’t been jocked off yet!”