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Trueshan returns to top form with classy Sandown strike

Trueshan returns to top form with classy Sandown strike
Trueshan returns to top form with classy Sandown strike

Trueshan served notice that he can still be a force in major staying events by stamping his class on the Coral Marathon at Sandown.

Alan King’s popular veteran has been a regular performer in all the top long-distance races over the past five years, winning a whole host of prestigious prizes – including a Goodwood Cup, a Doncaster Cup, two editions of the Prix du Cadran and three successive renewals of the Long Distance Cup.

And while the eight-year-old was beaten on his first two starts of the current campaign and missed the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot for the fourth season running due to unsuitable ground, he made the most of an ease in class with an emphatic display in Esher under his regular pilot Hollie Doyle.

After travelling with his usual zest for much of the two-mile Listed contest, 11-8 favourite Trueshan moved to the lead halfway up the home straight and the result was never really in doubt thereafter, with Night Sparkle getting closest but still beaten comfortably by two lengths.

Paddy Power reacted to the victory by cutting Trueshan’s Goodwood Cup odds to 14-1 from 25-1, but as usual, all future plans for King’s stable star will be ground and weather dependent.

King said: “I was actually out for lunch with a few owners, including Mr (Andrew) Gemmell. We just got back home and watched it and I’m thrilled.

“I hadn’t been disappointed with his two runs this year. He had to carry a penalty in the Sagaro Stakes and the Henry II and what a lot of people don’t seem to get is that a 7lb penalty for those two milers is a huge ask – I think it’s seven lengths over two miles.

“He hasn’t run badly at all, he probably needed a run or two to come on, but I was just so relieved to run him today because he’s been simmering away since Ascot and I thought if we didn’t run today, then we really are in trouble, so it’s lovely.

“On Wednesday morning I nearly wasn’t going to declare him, but Andrew Cooper (clerk of the course) said ‘I think you’re going to get your rain’, which I couldn’t see in the forecast, but thankfully he was right and they got six or seven millimetres this morning.

“I’ve got three and a half weeks until Goodwood and we can leave him alone next week now he’s had the run and build up to that.

“He ran very well in the Goodwood Cup a couple of years ago when he was third behind Kyprios and Stradivarius, so we’ll train him for that and see what happens.”

Hollie Doyle after winning the Coral Marathon with Trueshan
Hollie Doyle after winning the Coral Marathon with Trueshan (Steven Paston/PA)

Trueshan’s long-time rider was delighted to see one of her “favourites” return to winning form for the first time this season and paid tribute to King for the way he is able to maximise the eight-year-old’s longevity.

“It annoys me because he always used to get beat at Nottingham and everyone thinks he is gone, but he always comes back at some point and I never lose hope and never lost faith in him,” said Doyle.

“He’s obviously one of my favourites and I’ve been riding him for a good few years now and it’s great that racing fans can latch on to a horse like him.

“I think he was very grateful to be carrying 9st 2lb today instead of having a 7lb penalty on his back. I think he carries more weight on his back at home and he’s had a nice time of things.

“It was quicker ground than he’s used to and I just let him roll earlier than ideal probably, in case he got caught flat-footed, but he hit the line hard.

“Last year, I think people were questioning him and he went and won a Doncaster Cup after doing things completely the wrong way and then went on to win the Cadran and I think Alan does such a superb job with him. I know he gets some stick for pulling him out but he always does right by the horse.

“Hopefully he can pounce at the back-end of the season in the Cadran again and you have Doncaster and maybe Goodwood, so hopefully there is plenty more days in the sun.

“I know he’s been beaten a couple of times this year but he’s just been feeling so good and been carrying a bit more condition than usual, so once that comes off, he will be away!”

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