Trueshan camp keen to defend Goodwood Cup crown

Part-owner Andrew Gemmell believes there is “every possibility” Trueshan will defend his Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup title on Tuesday.

The six-year-old really marked his arrival on the staying scene when winning the Group One last year, before adding another top-level strike in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp and a second Long Distance Cup at Ascot to his CV before the end of the campaign.

However, Trueshan needs good ground or softer to take part, with his Gold Cup run at Royal Ascot scuppered by fast conditions last month, prompting him to be rerouted to Newcastle, where he posted a fantastic weight-carrying performance in winning the Northumberland Plate.

Gemmell is keeping his fingers crossed that the Goodwood going will prove suitable for the Alan King-trained stayer to take his chance on the opening day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

“It would be nice to run and defend his title and all being well and the weather being OK, I’m sure we will,” said part-owner Andrew Gemmell.

“He’s in great form and is ready to go, but there’s no secret it is all ground dependent. Let’s just hope when we get there tomorrow everything is OK.

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“The intention is definitely to go, it’s not like Ascot when we kind of knew that it wasn’t really going to happen, so I think there is every possibility he will run.”

Kyprios came home in front at Ascot
Kyprios came home in front at Ascot (David Davies/PA)

Four-times race winner Stradivarius will have plenty of support in what could be his swansong, but it is Gold Cup winner Kyprios who is at the head of the market as Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Ascot champion looks to come out on top once again.

Unbeaten in 2022, the four-year-old will be bidding for a four-timer in the two-mile contest and O’Brien said: “We were delighted with him in the Gold Cup – we weren’t sure about the trip going there but he looked like he got it well. Before he went to Ascot, he ran over a mile and six and looked very comfortable over that trip. I think he is a very versatile horse.

“He is still learning and is a relaxed horse who takes everything in his stride, so we think there is more improvement to come. He is straightforward to ride and uncomplicated. I think he is well-balanced and doesn’t over-race. Goodwood is an unusual track, but he seems to be OK going left or right-handed.”

Kyprios’ big-race pilot Ryan Moore is equally as confident in his mount and told Betfair: “Ignore all the talk about Stradivarius, I think my colt beat him fair and square at Royal Ascot, and maybe a shade comfortably too in the final analysis.

“It may well be that the older horse is better than he was able to show that day, but Kyprios was very professional and determined there, showing a great attitude.

“I think he is very much the one to beat here, though of course Trueshan is probably the form choice if allowed to take his chance on what looks like being ground on the quick side once again. You’d have to be worried about him.

“Stradivarius is clearly a threat once again as well, but I would also put in a very good word for Coltrane. I was surprised to be beaten by him in the Ascot Stakes, and he appeared to step it up another level at Sandown last time. He is on an upward curve and he could be troublesome if progressing again.”

Coltrane has been on a steep upward curve
Coltrane has been on a steep upward curve (Nigel French/PA)

Andrew Balding saddles both Coltrane and Nate The Great and it is the former that could well upset the favoured trio having followed up his Ascot Stakes victory by claiming the Listed Coral Marathon at Sandown last time.

“Coltrane has really found his feet of late,” said Balding. “He obviously won well at Royal Ascot and he was very impressive at Sandown last time. Taking on Stradivarius, he’d be doing well to finish third on all known form but he’s really well and we couldn’t be happier going into the meeting.”

Sagaro Stakes winner Princess Zoe adds further spice to the mix, with the third on that occasion, Enemy, also engaged, while the line-up is completed by last year’s runner-up Away He Goes and Yorkshire Cup silver medallist Thunderous.

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