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Saturday 22nd August sees the Ebor return to York. Connections of Alan King’s Trueshan will be hoping the four-year-old can claim the richest handicap race of the flat season.

We spoke to David Hill, ex-chairman of Warwick racecourse and founder of the Barbury Lions about the syndicate and Trueshan’s chances in this year’s Ebor.

How Barbury Lions works

“If we go back a bit in time, The Barbury Lions Syndicate, which Trueshan is part of the fifth iteration, came about after I stepped down as Chairman of Warwick racecourse. I went to see Alan King with a proposition which was to set up syndicates for him around a particular construction.” The concept that David talks through is a little different from simply buying 1/25th of a horse or opting into a syndicate for a year. “Each of our syndicates has three horses. Each one has two two-year-olds and a three-year-old which we tend to purchase from the Breeze-ups, either the Craven or Guineas.”

Trueshan shows the value of syndicates

Trueshan was purchased two years ago for a modest figure of 32,000gns. “Originally we decided not to put him into the Barbury Lions syndicates as we thought he was going to take time to come to hand.” The exciting then two-year-old was owned by David, Ian Dodds-Smith, Alan Marsh and Alan King who then subsequently sold his share to the very well known Andrew Gemmell, Paisley Park’s owner.

“We kept him for a year and ran him once at Nottingham, where he ran on pleasingly, then leased him to ‘Barbury Lions 5’ which consists of 25 people.” The syndicate also includes Tronada and Chinese Whisperer. Master Blueeyes, Coeur De Lion, and Caspar The Cub are just some to have been involved in the syndicates before, showing an undoubted degree of success.

“Trueshan has already won over £140,000, it has been fantastic and every member of the syndicate will see a return for their investment.”

Huge excitement ahead of Saturday

Turning the attention to the race David highlights that Trueshan will “want a bit of cut in the ground”. He has won on good ground before but he had a “monumental performance at Newbury last year where Hamish cruised alongside us went about ¾ of a length clear then Trueshan wore him down”.

Historically he has been raced up with the pace and that seems to be the way he will go this time. A fourth at Newmarket earlier this year is no bad result. Taking on multiple Group winning horses and finishing only three lengths back on his first appearance in eight months was positive. 

Everyone involved is “hugely excited” and although they can’t all be there together, David hopes they can all celebrate with a glass of champagne over zoom.


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