Trueshan began this season as he finished the last one as he ran out a comfortable winner of the Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham.
Alan King’s class act ended the last campaign as the undisputed leading stayer in training after victories in the Goodwood Cup, Prix du Cadran and Long Distance Cup on Champions Day, and he enjoyed a smooth return to action under regular partner Hollie Doyle.
While it unusual for a horse of his class to be out so early in the season, King took the decision to take the plunge with the ground in his favour.
Having had to miss the Gold Cup due to underfoot conditions, connections will be hoping he gets his chance this year in front of the big crowd at the Royal meeting.
The six-year-old settled nicely for Doyle as Ger Lyons’ Irish raider Yaxeni set the pace before Eileendover took over with over two furlongs to run.
Doyle was tracked by Richard Kingscote on Quickthorn, who for a stride or two briefly looked a danger.
However, with just one flick of the whip, Trueshan (4-9 favourite), who was conceding a 7lb penalty to Quickthorn, quickly put the race to bed and accelerated through the line to win by three lengths.
Paddy Power and Betfair left him unchanged at 11-4 for the Gold Cup in June.
Doyle told Racing TV: “It’s great to be back on him and it’s really nice to see how well he’s done physically over the winter. It only feels like two minutes ago we were going around Ascot.
“He doesn’t run in snatches but one minute he’s relaxed and the next he jumps back into the bridle, you’ve just got to be careful he doesn’t take you into the race too soon.
“At Goodwood he did way too much but got away with it, from that point on he’s been pretty good and this was a nice introduction today.
“He feels just as good if not a bit better, he’s strengthened over the winter. Hats off to Alan, he’s an incredible trainer, he knows him inside out and he wouldn’t have run him today if he didn’t think he was up to it.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thinking about this horse, I’m very lucky to be associated with him.
“I hope we have the worst, wet summer imaginable so he gets to run in the Gold Cup having missed it last year.”
Looking to immediate plans, assistant trainer Dan Horsford – who was on duty with King at a wedding – said: “He is in the Yorkshire Cup which is May 13 and it will probably be there and on to Ascot.
“The Gold Cup is the race we want to win this year, but with him it is ground dependent. It was a good start today.”