Trueshan achieves “the impossible” when defying topweight in Plate

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Heartbroken when he heard that Catbird Seat had suffered a fatal injury in the consolation race for the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, Alan received the perfect pick-me-up in the feature race 35 minutes later when our stable-star Trueshan made the impossible become reality when defying a welter burden in the Pitmens Derby at Gosforth Park on Saturday.

Those of us who have been in this wonderful game for so many decades have all watched in awe as the likes of Arkle, Desert Orchid and Denman gave lumps of weight and a thumping to a field of top-class handicappers over fences.

But it is as rare as a Penny Black stamp for a horse on the Flat to achieve such a feat – at least it was until Trueshan came along!

Alan, desperate to give Trueshan another run before he defends his Goodwood Cup crown on July 26, only ran at Newcastle as a last resort.

Trueshan has been pulled out of a string of races because of the fast ground since he made a winning seasonal debut at Nottingham in April, including the Ascot Gold Cup and the Queen Alexandra Stakes at last week’s Royal meeting.

So, with the clock ticking away, Alan confirmed Trueshan’s entry for the Plate on the tapeta surface, a race in which he had finished sixth last year. “I’m glad I did,” Alan said last night. “It was a very special performance.”

Alan freely admitted that he “would have been more than happy just to get a place”, but Hollie Doyle had other ideas and just six days after she created history by becoming the first female rider to win a European classic G1 when winning the French Oaks on Nashwa, she produced another magical ride on Trueshan.

Having defied 10st 8lb with as gritty a performance as you could wish to see, Trueshan, who got home by a hard-fought half-length, returned to a fantastic ovation from the 17,500 Geordie crowd, who borrowed that well-known soccer chant that we hear every Saturday through the winter when almost raising the roof off the stands when singing “There is only one Hollie Doyle” until they had no voices left.

The victory also moved the ITV racing team, especially the much-respected Irish form expert Kevin Blake, who said:”We have just seen something very special. It just doesn’t happen in a Flat handicap, yet Trueshan has rewritten the record books here and he must now be the number one stayer in the world.”

Hollie was also full of praise for Trueshan, declaring “he is an absolute machine”. She added:”I felt very humble hearing the crowd chanting my name, but Trueshan and Alan and the team at Barbury deserve all the credit.

“I am enormously proud of Trueshan and it is a privilege to be able to ride him. I had to give him a squeeze, which is unusual, and, while he has always won his races fairly easily, this time he really had to battle. He pinned his ears back and knuckled down for a fight – there was no way that he was going to accept defeat.”

In 189 runnings of Tyneside’s most prestigious race – and I must confess that I haven’t quite been to every one – locals insist that they have never heard such a deafening noise, though with Trueshan, available at 7-1 early morning, backed down to 3-1 favourite, it seemed that only the glum-faced on-course bookies were not cheering home the “jolly”.

Only one of Trueshan’s four-strong syndicate of owners made the trip north, and doubtless the three who watched from their armchairs were envious of Alan Marsh, who said:”We never expected Trueshan to win and would have been happy with a place, but Hollie has given the horse such a brilliant ride. We are only a small quartet – we paid 31,00gns at the Tattersalls Breeze-Up Sales – but we have enjoyed so many magical days with Trueshan.”

July 25, 2022, must be the best yet, Alan, and you still have Goodwood, Longchamp and Ascot to come – weather permitting!  What a day, what a horse, what a ride, what a trainer!