Alan King will send at least three runners to Royal Ascot next week, with big gun Trueshan ready to fire in the Gold Cup, should there be sufficient cut in the ground.
With the current spell of hot weather expected to break down over the next few days, the Barbury Castle handler is “hopeful” the three-time Ascot Long Distance Cup winner can bounce back from a seven-length Sagaro defeat by Coltrane, who heads next Thursday’s showpiece event over two and a half miles.
The dual Group One winner Trueshan will be hoping to make it third time lucky in the race after being declared a non-runner in the last two renewals on account of unsuitable ground.
“We will have to hope for a few thunderstorms,” said King. “He needs to get his toe in, as we all know. It is an open Gold Cup and we’ll keep an eye on the weather and see what happens.”
Tritonic will try two and a half miles for the first time on the Flat when he lines up in the Ascot Stakes.
Runner-up in the 10-furlong Golden Gates in 2020, he subsequently won a juvenile hurdle and a Grade Three handicap hurdle at the Berkshire track.
He has only been out of the frame in once in four runs at Ascot, when fourth, beaten just over seven lengths by Quickthorn, in the heavy-ground Duke of Edinburgh in 2021.
King said: “Three will run at the meeting for us anyway.
“Tritonic will run in the Ascot Stakes. Whether he wants that trip I don’t know, but we thought we’d go that route and learn. If he ran there, you’d have to try to train him for a Cesarewitch or something.”
There is plenty of confidence behind eight-year-old Raymond Tusk, who would also appreciate some easy ground when he lines up in the Copper Horse Handicap, the final race on Tuesday’s card.
King said: “He ran in it last year. He was only beaten four lengths, finishing seventh.
“The old boy is in really good form. Obviously, we’d like a drop of rain for him, but it was fast last year and I hope he will run a really nice race again.”
HMS President had a string of runner-up efforts in decent handicaps last year for Eve Johnson Houghton.
Now with King, the HP Racing colours were carried to success on his second start for King, when taking a valuable handicap at Newmarket, having finished runner-up in the Rosebery at Kempton on his stable debut and seasonal bow.
“He’s shown he has been pretty consistent last year and is trip versatile,” said King. “It was nice to see him get his head in front at Newmarket.
“We have a small team, but we’re looking forward to the meeting, as always.”