Trueshan marked himself out as a stayer to follow last season, winning three of his five outings, culminating in a dominant display on Champions Day at Ascot.
A return to the Berkshire venue is on the cards with Group 1 prizes the target, but before that Alan King’s charge is set to kick his season off in the Ormonde Stakes.
While his trainer reports his five-year-old to be in fine fettle, the race isn’t the ideal opener for his season.
“He’s done really well over the winter and has been ready to run for a while,” King told Tote.
“But I don’t think the trip is far enough, or the track is particularly suitable for him. I just need to get a run into him and set him up for Ascot. I can’t see him winning on Thursday, but it’s a run and I’ve just got to look beyond Chester with him.”
“We had all the entries lined up, but I always said that as soon as we got good to soft ground, I would run him. What I didn’t want to do was miss Chester only for York to get quick, and if I couldn’t run him there then I really would have been in a mess.”
The Barbury Castle handler might not have been effusive about his star’s chances on return, but that doesn’t take away from his hopes for the year ahead.
When asked whether Trueshan could become a mainstay in the top Cup races throughout the season, it wasn’t the horse’s ability, but the ground that might limit his participation.
“He’s not far off that at the moment with a rating of 118, but he is very ground dependent. If we get a normal, dry June then he won’t be running as he’s not a fast ground horse.”
Tote Chester Cup pair in good order
The rain that’s battered the country this week has certainly done no harm for the chances of King’s two runners in Friday’s Tote Chester Cup.
Who Dares Wins, placed in three previous renewals looks set for a fourth crack at the prize, while Coeur De Lion looks set to join his stablemate.
“The rain has come for them and they love a bit of cut in the ground,” King expressed to Tote.
“I think they’ll both run well, but you need the luck around Chester and you need to get a good draw, so we’ll just have to see.”
While the £64,425 first prize would be a welcome addition to the coffers of the King team, the trainer explained that he had hoped one of his pair would miss out on the 17 runner maximum field.
“I was hoping Coeur De Lion would get in the consolation race, but it looks like we’ll get in the main one.
“He’s had a prep run at Newbury, and he’s in good order. But in a way, he’s probably better off giving weight to lesser horses than the other way around.”
Like his stablemate, Who Dares Wins has produced the goods over obstacles as well as on the flat in the past, but made just one appearance in the National Hunt sphere this winter, with his trainer opting for a slight change of routine as far as his races were concerned,
“We were never going to go back over fences with him, he’s got a little bit precious with us so we weren’t ever going to do that. With the ground the way it was, we just decided to give him a bit of a holiday and then bring him back on the all-weather and he’s been running very well on it,” King said.
Although he’s not got his head in front over the winter, the 9yo has held his own on the artificial surfaces, with his best run coming when beaten a neck at Wolverhampton two starts back off a 1lb lower mark than he’ll run off in the Chester Cup.
But it’s a return to the Roodee, plus the return of the in-form Tom Marquand in the saddle, that could see him run another big race in the week’s feature.
“Who Dares Wins has a terrific record at Chester, he seems to handle the track well. He’s had a break, and is fresh and well.
“Tom’s a top man and has had a great winter and it’s great to have him back. He knows the horse inside out, so that’s definitely an advantage.”