Trueshan brilliant in Long Distance Cup repeat

Trueshan justified strong market support to record back-to-back victories in a rough race for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

Winner of the Prix du Cadran just two weeks ago, Alan King’s five-year-old repeated last year’s success on home soil, with veteran stayer Stradivarius third.

His regular partner, Hollie Doyle, missed out on ParisLongchamp due to a riding ban with James Doyle deputising, but she was back in the saddle and took full advantage.

There was a muddling early pace with The Mediterranean settling down in front from Master Of Reality, with Trueshan in midfield and Stradivarius towards the rear.

While Frankie Dettori had to make his challenge wide on Stradivarius after a barging match with Baron Samedi, Doyle had Trueshan in a good position turning for home.

The evens favourite was harassed by Tashkhan, but his class prevailed and he asserted in the final furlong to beat the 50-1 outsider by a length and a half.

Stradivarius finally got a clear run, but his bid flattened out and he was two and a half lengths further away.

Trueshan was quoted at 4-1 favourite with Betfair for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next summer.

King said: “I haven’t been this nervous for a long time.

“I was just nervous because it was only two weeks (between runs). Dan (Horsford) was very happy with him at home, but he was quite a handful to saddle today and quite hot. I don’t think he was at his best, but we’ve got away with it.

“He had to be very, very tough today. Brian’s (Ellison) horse kept coming back at him and Stradivarius has run another marvellous race the old boy.

“Hollie has ridden him most of the way through and he is her ride. It was unfortunate she had to miss France through suspension. James did a great job, but he knew Hollie would be back on board today.

“Everyone is saying I’ve been too cautious with him, but the only time I’ve taken this horse out is when it’s been proper fast ground – here at the Royal meeting when the rain came a day late, it was very quick at York and so was Doncaster. I would run him on good ground, but I won’t run him on good to firm.

“Let’s hope we get a wet Royal Ascot next year. It would be lovely to run him in the Gold Cup. We’ll duck and dive and if he keeps doing as well as he is at the moment we’ll be very happy.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve won a Grade One over jumps, so it’s nice to win a few big races on the Flat.”

Doyle said: “It’s an amazing feeling and all credit to Alan and the owners for putting me back on.

“The pressure was really on today to deliver given the great ride James gave him in France, so I’m glad it went well.

“It was a bit of a nightmare really. He jumped nicely, I got a nice position early on and he switched off – but at halfway he came to life, put the brakes on and raced rather keenly, but that’s just the way he is.

“I could feel Frankie breathing down my neck five down and I was wider than I wanted to be turning in, but I had to make my move.

“He’s so brave, to back up like he’s done today it’s just amazing.

“We’ll dream again next year, when hopefully he’ll be a stronger horse.”

Stradivarius - beaten but unbowed
Stradivarius – beaten but unbowed (PA)

Of Stradivarius, John Gosden said: “He ran a great race considering the ground. He seems fine after the race and no decision will be made on next year until next week. In other words, we want to see how the horse is in the next few days at home and he will tell us how to play it.

“I think he is more of the Federer blend in a sense. He’s not blowing, but when you look at the tactics, today and in the Gold Cup, you see that other guys are riding the race for him.

“They do go finding him in a race. One day they box him in and the next day they push him out. You look at the Ascot Gold Cup and today and other guys are riding him. I don’t want to go any further than that.

“That (retirement or stay in training as an eight-year-old) is Bjorn’s (Nielsen, owner) decision, but I will tell him how the horse is. Funnily enough the horse is a very expressive character. He will tell us.

“Today it was a great run off a horrible trip.”

Dettori was not at all happy with the ride of Dylan Browne McMonagle aboard Baron Samedi, calling it “a disgrace”.

“It was a disgrace. The kid in front of me did everything possible to get me beat,” he said.

However, Baron Samedi’s trainer Joseph O’Brien felt McMonagle did nothing wrong and put up a strong defence of his riding.

“I thought Dylan gave my horse a fantastic ride. I thought he was very tactically aware, held his position when he had to and I thought he moved at the right point,” said O’Brien.

“He gave him a great ride. It’s not up to Dylan to ride anyone else’s horse. He does his own thing and gave my horse a fantastic ride and held his ground when he had to.”

King wary of swift returns as Trueshan and Stradivarius clash again

Alan King admits only time will tell how much a slog in the Paris mud took out of both Trueshan and Stradivarius ahead of their mouthwatering rematch in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Trueshan will be favourite to make it back-to-back wins in the Champions Day opener, having inflicted a comprehensive defeat on legendary stayer Stradivarius in the Prix du Cadran.

The pair renew rivalry just a fortnight later – and while King has been happy with his stable star since his French triumph, he acknowledges the two-week gap is not ideal.

“We haven’t done much with him since Longchamp, but he had a little breeze on Wednesday and Dan (Horsford), who rides him every day, was happy with him,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

“We’re under no illusions, it’s only two weeks since the two of them had a hard race, but it’s Trueshan’s last race of the season, so he’s got all winter to get over it.

“We think he’s OK, but we can’t really be certain until we get on the track. We’ve tried to keep him as fresh as possible and we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

While conditions will not be quite as demanding as they were in the Bois de Boulogne, King has no concerns regarding the going in Berkshire.

He added: “The ground will be fine. I can’t see it drying out too much. I’ve always said I’d run him on good ground, so I’m not that worried.

“We’re happy, but there is that question mark and there’s no point pretending otherwise.”

Frankie Dettori leaps from Stradivarius after winning his second Doncaster Cup
Frankie Dettori leaps from Stradivarius after winning his second Doncaster Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stradivarius has dominated the staying division in recent seasons, with his illustrious CV including three Gold Cups, four Goodwood Cups, three Lonsdale Cups, two Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

John and Thady Gosden’s seven-year-old also won the Long Distance Cup in 2018 and was narrowly beaten by Kew Gardens in 2019, but finished a long way behind behind Trueshan 12 months ago.

John Gosden has spoken of his regret at sending his entire to Paris earlier in the month, with conditions set to be more in his favour this weekend.

“We very much wish that we hadn’t run there, as it looks as if he will get ground closer to what he wants at Ascot,” said the Clarehaven handler.

“We are not mad keen on coming back after just 14 days, but once it was clear he wasn’t handling the ground (at ParisLongchamp), Frankie (Dettori) didn’t get after him too much.”

Tony Mullins with Princess Zoe
Tony Mullins with Princess Zoe (PA)

The Tony Mullins-trained Princess Zoe is also making a quick return to action, having finished fifth behind Trueshan and Stradivarius when defending her Cadran crown.

Mullins said: “Trueshan is the one to beat. I’m hoping that we’ll be competitive with Stradivarius, who was a great champion, but he’s coming near the end of his peak.

“We’re going to give it a go. Coming back two weeks after the Cadran is a major factor – it’s a worry for Trueshan and it’s also a worry for us.

“We’re hopeful that Princess Zoe will run as well, if not better, at Ascot.”

William Haggas saddles both Hamish and Roberto Escobarr, with the former holding particularly strong claims judged on his defeat of the high-class Hukum in the September Stakes at Kempton last month.

“If you want to take the Hukum line at face value, Hamish would definitely have a chance. I don’t think we saw Hukum at his best at Kempton, but Hamish is a good horse all the same,” said Haggas.

“I believe the ground is going to be on the soft side of good, probably dead, and that will suit Hamish.

“He’s in good form, he did his last bit (on Wednesday morning) and he looks great.

“Roberto I’d have to say is better on top of the ground, so it might be a bit dead for him.

“But he’s a very genuine stayer and we’re going to put some cheekpieces on him on Saturday and a tongue-tie and hope that that can eke out a bit of improvement.

“Whether it will eke out the stone improvement he needs to be competitive, I don’t know. But he will run and we look forward to it, he looks really well.”

Ascot rematch for star stayers Trueshan and Stradivarius

Trueshan and Stradivarius will renew their rivalry at Ascot on Saturday after both stood their ground for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.

With Trueshan missing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Stradivarius sidestepping the Goodwood Cup, the pair finally met for the first time this season at ParisLongchamp a fortnight ago.

And after a thrilling battle up the home straight, it was the Alan King-trained Trueshan who asserted late on to claim his second Group One success in impressive style in the Prix du Cadran.

Trueshan will be a hot favourite to make it back-to-back Long Distance Cup wins under Hollie Doyle, who returns to the saddle after missing his French success due to suspension.

John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius was a brave second in Paris and connections will be hoping the sounder surface will help him bridge the gap on Qipco Champions Day.

Tony Mullins’ stable star Princess Zoe, who could finish only fifth when defending her Cadran crown, is also part of the 12-strong field, as is the William Haggas-trained Hamish.

Art Power heads a maximum field of 20 runners for the Qipco British Champions Sprint.

Art Power at the Curragh
Art Power at the Curragh (PA)

Tim Easterby’s charge was beaten just a length into fourth place 12 months ago and returns with strong claims after a runaway victory in the Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh.

Archie Watson saddles defending champion Glen Shiel, as well as Dragon Symbol, who would certainly not be winning out of turn having gone close in a string of Group One events this season.

Creative Force (Charlie Appleby) and Minzaal (Owen Burrows) are among the other hopefuls.

Dual Classic heroine Snowfall appears to have a good opportunity to get back on the winning trail in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

The daughter of Deep Impact was brilliant in winning the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks, but was beaten at short odds in the Prix Vermeille and could finish only sixth in the Arc.

But with Free Wind and La Petite Coco both notable absentees, Snowfall will be well fancied to secure a fourth Group One win.

Her trainer Aidan O’Brien also saddles La Joconde, with course and distance winner Albaflora (Ralph Beckett) also one of eight runners declared.

The Gosden team are responsible for the first two in the betting for the concluding Balmoral Handicap, with Frankie Dettori’s mount Sunray Major heading the market ahead of stablemate King Leonidas.

Aldaary (Haggas) and Nugget (Richard Hannon) are others to consider in a wide-open contest.

Trueshan set to defend Long Distance Cup crown

Alan King does not envisage the ground being too quick for Trueshan when he defends his Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup title at Ascot on Saturday.

The dual Group One winner has missed engagements at Royal Ascot and York’s Ebor meeting this season on account of unsuitable going.

But with the round course described as soft, good to soft in places on Wednesday morning and heavy dews maintaining the moisture in the ground, King is happy for him to take his chance.

“We didn’t do much for the first week or so (after winning the Prix du Cadran at the start of the month), but he had a little breeze this morning and I was very happy, so we look as if we’re on track for the weekend,” King told Sky Sports Racing.

“It’s only two weeks since he ran but there’s not much we can do about that. It’s going to be his last run of the season so I think we can roll the dice and hope for the best.

“There were a lot of times when we used to go Cheltenham and Aintree with only two weeks between them and got away with that. I would have preferred another week but we haven’t got that, so that’s where we are.

“I thought he was better in France than Goodwood. I was pleased with the way he settled because I was concerned about the extra half-mile that day, but he saw it out very well and travelled through the race like a class act.”

Regular partner Hollie Doyle missed the Prix du Cadran through suspension and was replaced by James Doyle, but gets back on board Trueshan this weekend.

“I think the ground will be fine. I’d run this horse on good ground but the twice we’ve taken him out, at Ascot and York, it was proper good to firm so it was an easy decision to make,” said King.

“It looks as if they will get a heavy dew every morning so it should be fine, I can’t see good to firm creeping in anyway.

“It was unfortunate Hollie couldn’t ride in France but James was a good substitute, within reason he’s Hollie’s ride.”

Paisley Park may return at Wetherby

Paisley Park may make his seasonal reappearance in the bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby this month.

Emma Lavelle’s stable star was the dominant force in the division in his pomp, and has the Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and two victories in the Long Walk at Ascot on his stellar CV.

The nine-year-old was found to be suffering from a fibrillating heart when defending his Stayers’ Hurdle crown in 2020, but bounced back last season to regain his Long Walk title before finishing third behind Flooring Porter at Cheltenham in March.

A final outing at Aintree’s Grand National meeting proved to be one too many, but owner Andrew Gemmell reports his pride and joy to be in rude health for the new campaign – so much so, that he has been pencilled in to run on the Charlie Hall Chase undercard on October 30.

Andrew Gemmell (left) with Paisley Park at Cheltenham
Andrew Gemmell (left) with Paisley Park at Cheltenham (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Gemmell said: “I saw him yesterday (Tuesday) actually, and he’s extremely well – everything looks good.

“I gave him lots of polos – and he seems to be really, really well.”

There had been some suggestion that Paisley Park might pursue a career over fences this season, but he looks set to remain over the smaller obstacles for the time being at least.

“I think at the moment we’re intending to start hurdling,” added Gemmell.

“He’s so well at the moment that we’re even considering going for the hurdle at Wetherby at the end of this month.

“We can see where we are and decide from there what we do.”

While very much looking forward to the jumps season proper getting under way, Gemmell has  also enjoyed a memorable campaign on the Flat thanks the exploits of Trueshan – of whom he is a part-owner.

Gemmell was at ParisLongchamp on Saturday to witness the Alan King-trained gelding add the Prix du Cadran to his Goodwood Cup success during the summer.

Connections plan to assess his well-being before deciding whether to allow him to bid for back-to-back wins the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday week.

Reflecting on his victory over Stradivarius in Paris, Gemmell said: “It was exceptionally special.

“He’d obviously missed a couple of races. Missing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot was disappointing, given the ground the following day would have been perfect after the rain came, and then he had to miss the Lonsdale Cup at York and the Doncaster Cup.

“It was nice to get it right this time. For him to beat Stradivarius by four and a half lengths was pretty impressive, really.

“We’ll wait and see how he is on Monday and see whether to head to Ascot. If not, there’s the Prix Royal-Oak the following week.”

James Doyle booked to ride Trueshan in Cadran

James Doyle will take the mount on Trueshan in what could be an epic clash with Stradivarius in Saturday’s Qatar Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp.

Regular partner Hollie Doyle is unable to maintain their partnership as she is serving a riding ban, but Alan King and owners the Singula Partnership have ensured another Doyle will be in the saddle.

King told Sky Sports Racing: “James Doyle is going to ride. He’s ridden for the owners on some of their other horses and he’s had plenty of success for me over the years, so that was the decision the owners made and I’m delighted to have him on board.”

Trueshan has not run since winning the Goodwood Cup back in July, with quick ground scuppering planned outings in the Lonsdale Cup at York and the Doncaster Cup at the St Leger meeting.

Both of those races were won by the resurgent Stradivarius, the three-times Ascot Gold Cup victor who could finish only fourth in his bid for a fourth triumph at the Royal meeting in June.

Quick ground at Ascot meant Trueshan missed the Gold Cup, while testing conditions at Goodwood saw Stradivarius miss out, with the pair having only met once previously in last year’s British Champions Long Distance Cup.

Trueshan emerged victorious that day on deep ground, with Stradivarius beating just one rival on what was a quick return after finishing down the field in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

It appears the duo could finally cross swords again in France, subject to the weather, with King having plenty of respect for both Stradivarius and the trip of two and a half miles.

Connections with Trueshan at Goodwood
Connections with Trueshan at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

He said: “He seems very well. Everyone has been happy with his work for the last 10 days or so.

“The competition looks very strong, but this has been the target for some time so we will see what happens.

“The one slight concern I have is two and a half (miles) – he’s never been beyond two miles. If he happened to be very free, it’s going to take a lot of getting. I just hopes he switches off early and gives himself a chance to really see the trip out.

“The old boy (Stradivarius) looks right back to his best, he was very impressive at Doncaster. He had a tough race the time before and I would have thought the Doncaster run would have given them plenty of confidence again.

“I’ve great respect for him and one or two of the others in the field. It looks a proper Group One.”

Doyle to miss Trueshan mount after suspension appeal fails

Hollie Doyle will miss the ride on Trueshan in the Qatar Prix du Cadran after failing in her appeal against a seven-day suspension.

Stewards at Kempton imposed the ban – to run from this Friday, October 1 to the same day next week, October 8 – for careless riding on runner-up Mountain Ash in the second division of the Handicap on September 17.

Doyle’s appeal took place on Tuesday, and afterwards the British Horseracing Authority announced via Twitter that it had been unsuccessful.

She will therefore be unavailable on Saturday, when she faced a choice of possible big-race rides – on Alan King’s Goodwood Cup and Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup hero Trueshan in the Group One marathon at ParisLongchamp or on top sprinter Glen Shiel at Ascot.

The BHA’s Tweet on Tuesday afternoon read: “Following this morning’s hearing, Hollie Doyle’s appeal against the decision of the Kempton Park stewards, and subsequent penalty, has been unsuccessful.”

There is no Flat racing in Britain on Sunday – which means Doyle’s suspension lasts until the end of next week, and also that she could ride on day two of ParisLongchamp’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting.

Trueshan misses Doncaster Cup

Trueshan will miss his intended re-match with Stradivarius in the Doncaster Cup, because of a lack of significant rain on Town Moor.

Trainer Alan King had indicated on Thursday that the Goodwood Cup winner would not take his chance in the Group Two feature unless overnight rain softened the forecast good to firm ground.

It was therefore no surprise when King made an early announcement on Friday morning that Trueshan will be a non-runner because of the going – leaving John and Thady Gosden’s brilliant stayer Stradivarius with just five opponents as he bids to regain his Doncaster title.

The going at Doncaster remains good to firm, after 5mm of rain on Thursday.

Stradivarius and Trueshan could clash in Doncaster Cup

Stradivarius will face six rivals as he bids for a second Doncaster Cup win on Town Moor on Friday.

John and Thady Gosden’s charge will be making his third trip to the Yorkshire track, having won this race in 2019 and finished a close third in the 2017 St Leger on his only other visit to the venue.

Having disappointed when finishing fourth in his challenge for a fourth Gold Cup win at Ascot in June, Stradivarius returned to winning form with a narrow victory over Spanish Mission in the Lonsdale Cup at York last month.

Frankie Dettori in flying dismount form from Stradivarius at Doncaster
Frankie Dettori in flying dismount form from Stradivarius at Doncaster (Tim Goode/PA)

The Grand Visir was a distant third that day and tries his luck again, while Trueshan, who was a non runner at York due to quick ground, could now get his chance to take on Stradivarius for trainer Alan King, who will be hoping all of the forecast rain materialises.

The Doncaster Cup features as part of the British Champions Series, but King reaffirmed Trueshan would not run if conditions stayed as they were on Wednesday morning, good to firm.

“We need plenty of rain. If it stays as it is he doesn’t run, but he breezed lovely this morning and he’s ready to roll if it comes. They could get five to 10 millimetres, so we’ll just wait and see,” said King.

Melbourne Cup hope Rodrigo Diaz, Nayef Road, Alerta Roja and Eagles By Day complete the line up for the Group Two heat.

Armor is a leading fancy for the Flying Childers
Armor is a leading fancy for the Flying Childers (John Walton/PA)

The Wainwright Flying Childers Stakes is the other Group Two prize on day three of the St Leger meeting, with Richard Hannon’s Armor leading the way after winning the Molecomb and finishing fourth in the Prix Morny last time out.

George Boughey is double-handed in the 11-runner affair with Thunder Love and Corazon, who won a Group Three heat at ParisLongchamp last week.

Chipotle returns to juvenile company for Eve Johnson Houghton after tackling the Nunthorpe Stakes last time out, with Karl Burke fielding Korker along with Roses Stakes victor Attagirl.

Caturra finished second for Clive Cox in the Roses Stakes and reopposes, while Bond Chairman, Papa Don’t Preach, The Organiser and Up Above are the other contenders.

Alan King eyeing Perfect Power rematch with Asymmetric

Asymmetric is likely to have another crack at the Prix Morny winner Perfect Power in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 25.

Alan King’s juvenile headed to France with high hopes following his victory at Goodwood in the Richmond Stakes and ran yet another creditable race in finishing third.

The Showcasing colt travelled powerfully for Martin Harley and found himself in front inside the final furlong but had no answer to Richard Fahey’s Perfect Power and Andre Fabre’s Trident.

“It was a decent run, really,” said King.

“We were very happy with him and he ran his race. He should be back Monday evening and all went well really.

“I think the plan is to head to the Middle Park, where we’ll probably meet the winner again so we’ll have another go.

“I know it is slightly the same for all of them, but I do think we’d appreciate slightly better ground than we had on Sunday. He maybe just didn’t pick up as he can.

“It looked a hugely competitive renewal yesterday and we were pleased with him.”

King had hoped to run his star stayer Trueshan in the Lonsdale Cup at York last week but drying ground put paid to that.

“It was a shame he couldn’t run, but I think we’ll look at the Doncaster Cup now and head there – ground permitting,” he said.

King looking to future big targets for Trueshan after ground scuppers Lonsdale Cup run

Alan King will look at alternative targets for Trueshan after deciding against letting his stable star line up for the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York.

Having also missed the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June on account of unsuitably fast ground, the five-year-old provided his trainer with a first Group One victory on the Flat when running out an impressive winner of last month’s Goodwood Cup.

King was keen to let him take on Stradivarius on the Knavesmire, but with conditions drying out all the time, he declared him a non-runner shortly before 1pm.

He said: “We’ve decided to take him out. It wasn’t really a difficult decision now the ground has gone good to firm.

“We’ve got Goodwood in the bag and there are plenty of big targets later in the year for him, so the one thing we don’t want to do is go jarring him up.

“I’m sure he wouldn’t have been at his best on quick ground, anyway.”

Alan King trains Trueshan
Alan King trains Trueshan (David Davies/PA)

Trueshan is entered in the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on October 16, a Group Two contest he won last season.

But he could be seen in competitive action at least once before then, with the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp a fortnight earlier pencilled in as a major objective.

“The Prix du Cadran is before Ascot and that is his first big target and I’ll need to find a run for him somewhere beforehand,” King added.

“There’s the Doncaster Cup next month, so we’ll see.”

Gemmell revelling in Goodwood Cup glory with Trueshan

Prominent owner Andrew Gemmell is still on cloud nine after Trueshan provided him with further big-race success in last week’s Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, is best known as the sole owner of Emma Lavelle’s top-class jumper Paisley Park, who brought the house down at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival when landing the Stayers’ Hurdle.

But he has also has also been involved with several Flat horses, notably purchasing shares in Ed Dunlop’s Trip To Paris after he won the 2015 Ascot Gold Cup and subsequently travelling to Australia to witness him finishing second in the Caulfield Cup later that year.

Gemmell, who has experienced some of the world’s greatest sporting occasions having travelled the globe to follow England’s cricketers, attended the Australian Open and in racing the Melbourne Cup and Kentucky Derby, admits victory at Goodwood was pretty special.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it – it was brilliant.

“Stradivarius and Spanish Mission coming out ramped up the pressure massively, but it was a wonderful day.

“The Cheltenham Festival and Glorious Goodwood are both great festivals and to win a Goodwood Cup was just fantastic.

“I had a second in the Caulfield Cup with Trip To Paris, but this would be my biggest winner on the Flat.”

Gemmell and other members of the Singula Partnership that own the Alan King-trained five-year-old are now looking forward to bidding for further staying honours at either York or Doncaster.

“Onwards to either the Lonsdale Cup or the Doncaster Cup, hopefully,” Gemmell added.

“The ground will be important, of course. I think he can go on good ground, but if there’s any firm in the going then he won’t be running.

“It was great for him to win the other day after missing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. The weather just conspired us against us, unfortunately – the rain came during the last race on the Thursday, which was no use to us.

“If the Gold Cup had been run on the Friday we’d have been there with a big shout.”

Andrew Gemmell with Paisley Park at Cheltenham
Andrew Gemmell with Paisley Park at Cheltenham (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Gemmell also provided an upbeat report on Paisley Park, who finished third when bidding to regain his crown in the Stayers’ Hurdle in March before being pulled up at Aintree.

He said: “Paisley is back (in training) and I’m looking forward to the jumps season as well. I always think with the jumpers, it’s like seeing a lot of your old mates coming back again.

“I think Aintree just came a bit too soon after Cheltenham and the course didn’t really suit him.

“Everything is grand with the horse. We’ll see this season what we do. I would think we’ll head down the same route.”

Doyle and King take over at the top with Trueshan

The Goodwood Cup has, in recent years, been a race whose title is always spoken alongside the name of just one horse – Stradivarius.

The beloved chestnut’s long-time rider, Frankie Dettori, is next in that sentence, and the ever-statesmanlike John Gosden surely follows.

Little had changed as the scene was set for the 2021 renewal of the race, if anything the aforementioned trio were absorbing more of the limelight than ever as they prepared to jointly bid for a record-breaking fifth success.

The record ripe for breaking was of course set by Stradivarius himself, who has dominated both the contest and the division throughout his unusually long career.

But then the rain came, heavy and relentless, and the limelight refocused on another of racing’s out and out stars – Hollie Doyle.

Trueshan pulling up after his Group One success
Trueshan pulling up after his Group One success (John Walton/PA)

Doyle was booked to ride Trueshan, the mud-loving stayer trained by Alan King, who is more readily associated with the National Hunt circuit having saddled 15 winners at the Cheltenham Festival.

The weather had left the ground not unlike a wet day at Prestbury Park, however, and that inspired punters to back Trueshan in their droves, as he ultimately returned as the 6-5 favourite, with Stradivarius a ground-enforced absentee.

The gelding ran exuberantly in the early stages of the two-mile affair, fighting with the diminutive Doyle and making matters harder that necessary when refusing to settle into the steady pace set by the race leaders.

Reluctant to be boxed in by the rail, Doyle cut forward to cruise in the slipstream of those ahead of her and masterfully eased the bay into the rhythm he had been opposing.

From there she was perfectly poised to throw down her challenge, taking up the lead with two furlongs left to travel and driving Trueshan across the line with his nearest rival three and three-quarters of a length behind him.

The second-placed horse, Ismail Mohammed’s Away He Goes, earned a smattering applause for his valiant run in defeat at written-off odds of 33-1, but Doyle was received by a sizeable Goodwood crowd like a favourite daughter on sports day.

Celebration time following Trueshan's success in the Goodwood Cup
Celebration time following Trueshan’s success in the Goodwood Cup (John Walton/PA)

King, who was leaving the glamour of Goodwood on Tuesday evening to search for new National Hunt performers, admitted the pre-race pressure had been intense.

“I’ve been very calm all morning and then suddenly when John took out Stradivarius we got shorter and shorter,” he said.

“The nerves really started to kick in, I haven’t been this nervous in a long time, I can tell you.”

Looking to further big days with his stable star, King said: “He is in the Lonsdale (Cup, at York) and he is in the Irish St Leger (at the Curragh). I will talk to the boys, but we will probably take him out in the morning at the forfeit stage.

“The Cadran (ParisLongchamp, on Arc weekend) will probably be his big target in the autumn.”

Doyle, whose calm, affable disposition never seems to waver, even found herself uncharacteristically anxious ahead of her ride.

“I never really feel pressure and I never get nervous, but today something did come over me as I didn’t want to let everyone down,” she said.

“I was very confident, but I haven’t had many Group One experiences, especially on a 10-11 odds-on shot, so I was feeling it a bit more than normal.”

Hollie Doyle following victory in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup
Hollie Doyle following victory in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup (John Walton/PA)

Doyle claimed a first Group One success on Champions Day at Ascot in 2020, with Glen Shiel the hero in question as he took the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.

“When I got a taste of the success at Ascot on Glen Shiel, I got a bit more hungry and determined to want it more often,” she said.

A Goodwood Cup triumph seemed to invoke the same appetite for glory once again, as Doyle rolled on to a second success aboard Lord Riddiford in the Back To Goodwood Handicap, and a third when winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes with Sisters In The Sky.

“This is one of the best days I’ve ever had,” she said.

“I got some buzz off that, I don’t get too high or too low but when you get experiences like that, you’ve got to make the most of it haven’t you?

“It’s very special, I’ll still be smiling in the next, I’ll be smiling all week!”

Doyle deserves to smile, King deserves to smile, and the authors of the Goodwood script can smile too, for whilst it seemed the star of their cast was sorely missing, in this instance the understudy proved to be every bit as good.

Trueshan powers to Goodwood Cup glory

Trueshan claimed Group One glory for Alan King and Hollie Doyle with a decisive success in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

A runaway winner on Champions Day at Ascot in October, the five-year-old made a promising start to the current campaign when runner-up to Japan at Chester in May before missing an intended appearance in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot due to unsuitable ground.

Trueshan instead contest the following week’s Northumberland Plate, where he was far from disgraced in finishing sixth under a huge weight, and everything fell perfectly into place for him on the Sussex Downs.

With the rain-softened ground leading to the withdrawal of four-time Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius, King’s charge was the 6-5 favourite to provide his multiple Grade One-winning trainer with a first top-level success on the Flat.

Trueshan raced keenly for much of the two-mile journey, but moved to the lead early in the home straight and saw off the brave effort of the largely-unconsidered 33-1 shot Away He Goes by just under four lengths, giving a jubilant Doyle her second Group One win.

Doyle said: “It’s incredible. He’s been in my mind every day since Champions Day, when we could get back together – these are the days you do it for.

“He was pretty fresh early on, they were going no gallop and I expected there to be a bit of pace on and at halfway I thought ‘I’ve got to do something about this, I’m not getting trapped on the rail, they’re going to sprint finish’.

Trueshan in action at Goodwood
Trueshan in action at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

“I managed to slide onto the girths of the leaders, he completely dropped the bridle with me and the further he went, the better. When I hit the rising ground, he went again.

“It’s a staying challenge and when I hit the rising ground he was gone again.

“He’s a superstar on this ground. I got some buzz off that – I don’t get too high or too low, but when you get experiences like that you’ve got to make the most of it.”

King is perhaps more renowned for winners at Cheltenham, but is becoming an increasingly potent force on the Flat.

He said: “It’s no better but it’s right up there with the Champion Hurdles and things, of course it is.

“All I want to do is train proper horses and I don’t mind whether they’re jumpers or not, I’m not giving up the jumping just yet!”

He went on: “We’re out of practice a bit, I haven’t been coming racing much over the past 18 months and I don’t think I’ve ever saddled this horse to win – I was nearly told to stay at home!

“He was just a little bit keen but he can be like that – thank God we went to Newcastle because if he’d come straight from Chester he’d have been ferocious today.

“I was glad he had a proper race there and we were able to let him down and then build him back up, a lot of people thought we were mad running him (at Newcastle) without a flat weight but he needed to go somewhere.”

Trainer Ismail Mohammed was thrilled with the effort of Away He Goes.

He said: “As we watched we thought he was going to win. We are very proud of him. Maybe we will head to France for a race one month from now that we had pencilled in.”

His rider Jim Crowley was equally pleased, saying: “He was travelling better than the winner who outstayed him on that ground. His form in Dubai was very good, so it was not a total surprise.”

Goodwood Cup on the agenda for Trueshan

Trueshan will be trained for the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup after pleasing trainer Alan King with his performance in last weekend’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

Having been taken out of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot due to unsuitable ground conditions, the high-class stayer instead carried top-weight in the feature race of the season at Gosforth Park.

While favourite-backers were ultimately out of luck, Trueshan was not disgraced in finishing sixth – and King is keeping his fingers crossed for some ease in the ground to allow him to take on the likes of Subjectivist and Stradivarius on the Sussex Downs.

“I was happy with the run. He was beaten less than four lengths and has been absolutely fine since,” said the Barbury Castle handler.

Trueshan was a famous winner for Hollie Doyle on Champions Day last year
Trueshan was a famous winner for Hollie Doyle on Champions Day last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’ll have a quiet week and then we’ll train him for Goodwood and see what the ground is like.

“We were very keen to get a run into him and we can leave him alone now for a week or 10 days. You can’t keep these horses bubbling away and that’s why we ran him. I thought he ran very well really.

“If the ground wasn’t suitable at Goodwood then there’s the Lonsdale Cup at York, I suppose, and he’s in the Irish St Leger, but that’s not until later on (September).

“We’ll go one race at a time and just see what the weather does.”