Ascot flop gives Alan thoughts of going hurdling with Trueshan
We hoped that Trueshan‘s shock defeat on his seasonal debut at Nottingham last month might have been a “one-off”. It was after all the horse’s first flop in 22 races, but, sadly, Trueshan produced another uncharacteristic display when finishing a tired fourth behind his arch-rival Coltrane in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot today.
The writing was on the wall when Hollie Doyle dashed Trueshan into the lead fully five furlongs from home, but, whereas in the past the message to his rivals has been “thou shalt not pass”, he downed tools quickly once straightening for home.
Alan King, who had feared after Nottingham that a string of hard races might be catching up with Trueshan and affecting him mentally, did not attempt to make excuses and is resigned to the fact that our stable-star’s best days might be behind him and that it might be time to try something new – HURDLING!
“Why not,” said Alan. “There is a strong possibility that you might see Trueshan over hurdles in the autumn. The switch to jumping might give him a new lease of life. Maybe we might start him off at Newbury – the best jumps course in the country for a newcomer! However, if Trueshan does not take to hurdling so be it. He has been such a wonderful horse and does not owe us anything.”
“I brought Trueshan back to win here, and I knew that this race would tell us where we are. Unfortunately, he did not give us the answers I was hoping for.
“Hollie said that they just seemed to get slower and slower early on, so she did the right thing in kicking on down the back straight. But sadly the fight he has always shown was simply not there up the home straight.
“There is no way that I will keep doing this to the old boy, and, as always, we will do what is right by the horse. Trueshan is a horse who has always been ground dependent, so we will still train him for the Ascot Gold Cup and see what the weather does. Those tough battles he was involved in at Newcastle (Northumberland Plate), Goodwood and Ascot last year seem to have left its mark.
“I thought maybe I had been a bit harsh on Trueshan with my post-race analysis at Nottingham, but first impressions are often the correct ones, and it seems that I might have been on the right track all along.”