Trueshan to end the season with a win at British Champions Day?

With the news that the legendary Stradivarius has been retired to stud after a glittering career that includes three Ascot Gold Cups and Aidan O’Brien opting to send Kyprios to Paris for the historic Prix du Cadran and therefore potentially missing the Berkshire finale this weekend, the door has been blown wide open for Trueshan to be crowned the winner of Britain’s marathon division. 

The Alan King-trained horse missed out on the defense of that aforementioned Group 1 Prix du Cadran title at Longchamp earlier this month in favour of competing in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at British Champions Day and the six-year-old looks good value in the sports betting odds for a victory at Ascot despite a disappointing performance in the Doncaster Cup last time out. 

The odds-on market leader to win the Group 2 contest at the St. Leger Festival in Yorkshire earlier in September, Trueshan was held up in last early in the race before making ground and sitting behind the leaders with five furlongs to spare. He finished strongly, but was beaten by the neck of 9/1 shot Coltrane — leading to Hollie Doyle receiving fierce criticism for her ride aboard the horse. 

Unlike when Frankie Dettori was stripped of riding duties on Stradivarius following a disappointing outing in the Gold Cup earlier in the season, which also led to a temporary fall out with long-time trainer and close friend John Gosden, King and Trueshan’s connections will keep their faith in Doyle and she has the chance to redeem herself at Ascot.

Of course, there might be added pressure on Doyle to perform at Champions Day after that turbulent Doncaster Cup showing. However, with rain in the forecast, the real possibility of soft ground will massively boost Trueshan’s chances. But, as always with the King-trained chestnut, the conditions will play a massive factor. 

“He won’t be ready in time for the Cadran so we will hold off for Ascot, provided the rain comes we will go there,” the trainer said. 

“We will worry about everything else when the time comes, we need to make sure the ground is going to be right first.”

While Champions Day might still come too soon for Kyprios after the Cadran, Trueshan won’t be without competition in the £283,550-to-the-winner Long Distance cup. Eldar Eldarov is a tempting choice at around 5/1 after winning the St. Leger in stunning fashion last month — beating Godolphin’s favourite New London by two lengths in the final Classic of the season. 

It would be a big step up in trip for the three-year-old, as the St. Leger trip of 1m6½f is the longest he has travelled thus far in his career, but his trainer Roger Varian has admitted that he wouldn’t rule out sending Eldar Eldarov out over two miles at British Champions Day. 

“He’ll have to bounce back after the Leger and show he can run again, but I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said. “They’re the two races and they are eight days apart, so he’ll be trained for that third week in October.

“He had a bit of a break after the Grand Prix de Paris to the St Leger. He’s raced four times this year and only once at two, so he’s relatively lightly raced and there’s reason to think he’ll run again.

“He’s in good shape. We’ll get a better idea in a few days’ time, but the first impressions are that he’s come out of it very well.”

Quickthorn, who has won successive Group 2s in the form of the Prix Maurice de Nieuil at Longchamp and the Lonsdale Cup at York, also looks a danger at 14/1, while Andrew Balding’s Coltrane (8/1) has already got one up on Trueshan this season. 

A couple of disappointing runs this season, including that third-place finish in the Goodwood Cup, means that you can’t call Trueshan a cert in the online betting tips heading into Champions Day. But if the horse that powered home as top weight in the Northumberland Plate earlier season shows up at Ascot, then there will be no stopping the Alan King-trained star. 

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