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Who will come out on top in the latest clash between the staying titans in the Sagaro?

Written by on May 1, 2024

It’s old warriors wherever you turn in this Group 3 as Trueshan, Coltrane and Quickthorn line up against each other yet again, but who will come out on top in this latest clash of the titans?

Everything appears to be right for Coltrane. He has fitness on his side, having run in the Dubai Gold Cup just 32 days ago, and gets 7lb from Trueshan. While Coltrane might have preferred the going to have dried more than it has, the sun is shining and it could yet do so.

Coltrane lost his form after landing the Lonsdale Cup at York last season and has been beaten more than 19 lengths on both of his last two starts, but Ascot is his playground and he has two wins and two seconds from just five starts here. Maybe the return will work the oracle.

Andrew Balding is taking no chances, though, and enlists first-time cheekpieces. However, the trainer’s strike-rate drops from 15 per cent to nine per cent with those in the aid first time.

Quickthorn has been off for 250 days and Trueshan absent for 193, but they met on their respective seasonal reappearances at Nottingham two years ago and Trueshan won that day.

Trueshan has the better record of the pair when returning from a break and his victory in the Doncaster Cup in September was achieved after a 135-day hiatus. He therefore looks like a big danger to Coltrane, especially now that he returns following surgery to correct his wind.

Trainer Alan King’s strike-rate jumps from 14 per cent to 18 per cent with runners who had the surgery before their latest run and that is another indication that Trueshan can peak here.
Analysis by Graeme Rodway


Gosden sweet on William 

John and Thady Gosden won this three years ago with the mighty Stradivarius on the way to the Ascot Gold Cup and are back to repeat the trick with Sweet William, who is the most unexposed runner in the field.

The five-year-old progressed through the handicap ranks last season, finishing second in the Ebor at York before filling the same position behind Trueshan in the Group 2 Doncaster Cup. He finished third in the Long Distance Cup on his most recent start.

Trueshan beats Sweet William in the Doncaster Cup

Sweet William (pink): chased home Trueshan in the Doncaster CupCredit: Edward Whitaker

John Gosden said: “Sweet William has been enjoying his work this spring and it has always been the plan to bring him back in the Sagaro Stakes. It looks a good edition of the race with a small but select field. 

“The ground looks as if it will be on the soft side, which we won’t mind, and we are looking forward to getting his season started.”

The Gosden team had three winners across two meetings on Monday and the joint-trainer added: “We had a ten-day window of spring in early April and then it went back to being winter through Craven week, so they’ve taken a bit of time to come to hand, but they seem to be going the right way now.”


What they say

Alan King, trainer of Trueshan
He probably needs a personal best as there are two horses in Quickthorn and Coltrane rated above him and he’s got to give them seven pounds. He’s in great form and Hollie Doyle rode him in work on Saturday morning. She was delighted with him and the ground should be fine for him after the rain they’ve had. This looks a good starting point.

David Menuisier, trainer of Caius Chorister
The idea is to see if she gets the trip as we entered her in the Ascot Gold Cup. If not she will have to go back to a mile and a half or a mile and six, but she’s in good shape and this will tell us where we are going forward. She won’t mind the ground as she’s quite versatile in that regard.

David Menuisier:

David Menuisier: runs Caius ChoristerCredit: Edward Whitaker

Oisin Murphy, rider of Coltrane
He didn’t fire on his comeback in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan, but he’s been fine at home since then and I’m looking forward to getting back on him. He won the race last year so knows all about the track, and he’s in first-time cheekpieces to give him a bit of help. Hopefully it will dry out.

Hughie Morrison, trainer of Quickthorn
He had a long winter break between September and January, which he needed, and his comeback race is very much a means to an end. It’s a competitive race and we hope he runs well in it with an eye to running in all the big races in the summer.
Reporting by David Milnes


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