Alan will leave it late before deciding about Trueshan in the Gold Cup

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June 19

We are looking for a timely pre-Ascot confidence booster at Windsor tonight, courtesy of Hourless, who has found his form again with recent victories on the Flat and over hurdles.

Following Alan’s blitz on Friday and Saturday, the bookmakers have Hourless a firm favourite – here’s hoping that the layers have got it right.

Meanwhile, Alan, having dusted off his black topper, is ready to roll at his favourite Flat meeting of the whole year at Royal Ascot tomorrow.

We have a couple of runners in the handicaps on day one, Tritonic tackling two and a half miles for the first time on the level in the Ascot Stakes, while Raymond Tusk, who ran a corker to finish second in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap at the Royal meeting last year, tries again in the finale, the Copper Horse Stakes, in which he finished on the heels of the placed horses 12 months ago, albeit in seventh place.

Alan, who must be encouraged by the fact that Tritonic got the trip well enough when fourth over hurdles at Aintree last April, said:”Tritonic was runner-up in the Golden Gates (10f) here three years ago, but now he’ll be going twice as far. He’s won twice over hurdles on this course, and, while I have no idea whether he will stay, this is the only way to find out. If he does, we can always look at races like the Cesarewitch.

“Ideally, we’d like a drop of rain for Raymond Tusk. The old boy is in great form at home, and he was only beaten four lengths when it was fast ground last year, so who knows?”

Newmarket winner HMS President will take his chance in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap on Friday, while Alan has not given up hope totally that Ascot might yet get the forecast showers that have have given the Royal Heath a wide berth

Alan said:”They had less than 2mm of rain on Sunday, whereas Nottingham was washed out, but we’ll hang on until the last minute with Trueshan. I’d love the rain to arrive, so that we just might be able to give him one shot at the Gold Cup.

“Trueshan has won the last three Long Distance Cups at Ascot, but he has had to be withdrawn from the Gold Cup the last two years because of the ground. As everyone knows he needs to get his toe in, but this year’s Gold Cup is very open, so we’ll keep an eye on the weather and hope for the best.”