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Trueshan all set for ‘tough’ Sagaro return

Trueshan all set for ‘tough’ Sagaro return
Trueshan all set for ‘tough’ Sagaro return

Alan King reports all is well with Trueshan ahead of his seasonal reappearance in the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, but admits carrying a Group One penalty will make things tough for his valiant veteran.

The eight-year-old has to concede weight all round as a result of following up last September’s Doncaster Cup triumph with an elite-level success in the Prix du Cadran at ParisLongchamp later the same month.

Having finished only fourth behind the reopposing Coltrane on level terms in this race 12 months ago, King’s concerns are understandable, especially as that old rival and the Hughie Morrison-trained Quickthorn are currently rated 1lb superior on official ratings.

However, Trueshan’s home work and the recent rain in Berkshire do give more cause for optimism.

“I do think he probably needs a personal best, as there are two horses rated above him and he has to give them 7lb,” said King.

“He’s in great form and Hollie (Doyle) rode him work at home on Saturday morning. I’m not sure she has ever ridden him work at home, but she came in and she was delighted with him.

Betfred St Leger Festival – Doncaster Cup Day – Doncaster Racecourse
Trueshan ridden by Hollie Doyle (left) winning the Doncaster Cup (Tom Goode/PA).

“The forecast is encouraging and he’s ready to start. Conceding weight to Hughie’s horse and Coltrane will be tough, but it’s a nice starting point.”

Last year, Trueshan kicked off his campaign with a narrow reversal to Rajinsky at Nottingham, but the abandoned Further Flight Stakes was never on the table this season, with the gelding given a wind-op this spring.

King added: “We had done his wind a week or so before, so we couldn’t have taken him to Nottingham anyway.

“We did it last year and the soft palate is something you can probably do annually with some horses. Although I had no inclination there is a problem, we just had it done again.”

Coltrane followed up an emphatic victory in last season’s renewal by finishing a fine second to Courage Mon Ami in the Ascot Gold Cup and benefits from his Lonsdale Cup victory over that horse at York falling just before the end-of-August cut-off point for penalties here.

Andrew Balding’s seven-year-old must put a below-par effort in the Dubai Gold Cup behind him, but regular rider Oisin Murphy is hoping the fitting of cheekpieces will inspire a return to form.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “Coltrane disappointed in Dubai but horses can do that. He’s been a great servant and had a terrific year last year, obviously winning this race.

“He’s been working well and he’ll wear cheekpieces, which might just help him take the bridle. I’m looking forward to getting back on him and as long as he stays healthy and is enjoying it, there’s no doubt he can get back to the level he was at.”

John and Thady Gosden’s Sweet William progressed through the ranks last term, completing a hat-trick in handicap company at Glorious Goodwood before finishing a rock-solid second to Absurde in the Ebor at York and then chasing home Trueshan at Doncaster.

“He’s in great form,” said Gosden senior. “He’s the ultimate character and he’s a lot of fun. He just got pipped off in the Ebor and we’re looking forward to running him in the Sagaro.

Qatar Goodwood Festival 2023 – Day Five – Goodwood Racecourse
Sweet William winning at Goodwood (Andrew Matthews/PA).

“He stays well and he’s one of those enigmatic horses who is fun to train. He’ll handle soft no problem, as he did at Goodwood that day.”

Quickthorn was given an enterprising ride by Tom Marquand when making all to win last season’s Goodwood Cup by six lengths from Emily Dickinson and Coltrane.

The line-up is completed by David Menuisier’s Caius Chorister, who was last seen scoring in Group Three company at Saint-Cloud in October on very soft ground.

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