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.”
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.”