Brian Ellison believes if Tashkhan can reproduce his brave Cesarewitch run he will win Sunday’s Prix Royal-Oak at ParisLongchamp.
Carrying top-weight, the five-year-old hit the front inside the final quarter-mile, but his welter burden told inside the last furlong and he was passed by The Shunter and eventually Pied Piper.
Ellison rated it as a career-best effort, despite it coming in a handicap, but does harbour some doubts about whether those exertions may have taken the edge off his stable star.
“He ran a blinder in the Cesarewitch. You wonder if he had too hard a race there but you don’t know until you run them, that’s the danger,” he said.
“To be fair to the horse, he is tough, he seems well at home, I’m quite happy with him even though he’s just been ticking over and it’s his last run of the year, so we’ll see.
“If he performs like he did in the Cesarewitch, he’ll win, won’t he. I think it was just about his best-ever run when you take into account the weight he was carrying. All the ratings people tend to agree, too. It was some run.
“He was only beaten by two proper horses, giving them a stone. The winner has proven his class by winning at Cheltenham and Pied Piper was running against Champion Hurdle horses most of last season.
“I don’t think there’s anything like those two in this race, but the danger is we’ve got to travel all the way to France. But he is tough and if he can repeat his Newmarket run he won’t be far away.”
Fellow British raiders in what is the French version of the St Leger include Chester Cup winner Metier and James Fanshawe’s Novel Legend, while the home team is headed by the three-year-old Double Major.