Ascot rematch for star stayers Trueshan and Stradivarius
Trueshan and Stradivarius will renew their rivalry at Ascot on Saturday after both stood their ground for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup.
With Trueshan missing the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and Stradivarius sidestepping the Goodwood Cup, the pair finally met for the first time this season at ParisLongchamp a fortnight ago.
And after a thrilling battle up the home straight, it was the Alan King-trained Trueshan who asserted late on to claim his second Group One success in impressive style in the Prix du Cadran.
Trueshan will be a hot favourite to make it back-to-back Long Distance Cup wins under Hollie Doyle, who returns to the saddle after missing his French success due to suspension.
John and Thady Gosden’s Stradivarius was a brave second in Paris and connections will be hoping the sounder surface will help him bridge the gap on Qipco Champions Day.
Tony Mullins’ stable star Princess Zoe, who could finish only fifth when defending her Cadran crown, is also part of the 12-strong field, as is the William Haggas-trained Hamish.
Art Power heads a maximum field of 20 runners for the Qipco British Champions Sprint.
Tim Easterby’s charge was beaten just a length into fourth place 12 months ago and returns with strong claims after a runaway victory in the Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh.
Archie Watson saddles defending champion Glen Shiel, as well as Dragon Symbol, who would certainly not be winning out of turn having gone close in a string of Group One events this season.
Creative Force (Charlie Appleby) and Minzaal (Owen Burrows) are among the other hopefuls.
Dual Classic heroine Snowfall appears to have a good opportunity to get back on the winning trail in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
The daughter of Deep Impact was brilliant in winning the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks, but was beaten at short odds in the Prix Vermeille and could finish only sixth in the Arc.
But with Free Wind and La Petite Coco both notable absentees, Snowfall will be well fancied to secure a fourth Group One win.
Her trainer Aidan O’Brien also saddles La Joconde, with course and distance winner Albaflora (Ralph Beckett) also one of eight runners declared.
The Gosden team are responsible for the first two in the betting for the concluding Balmoral Handicap, with Frankie Dettori’s mount Sunray Major heading the market ahead of stablemate King Leonidas.
Aldaary (Haggas) and Nugget (Richard Hannon) are others to consider in a wide-open contest.
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