Trainer Alan King hopes change of plan for Trueshan pays off in Northumberland Plate

ALAN KING hopes the decision to pull Trueshan out of the Ascot Gold Cup is rewarded with victory in today’s Northumberland Plate – the Pitmen’s Derby.

Hollie Doyle after riding Trueshan to win The Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup during the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot last October.
Hollie Doyle after riding Trueshan to win The Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup during the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot last October.

ALAN KING hopes the decision to pull Trueshan out of the Ascot Gold Cup is rewarded with victory in today’s Northumberland Plate – the Pitmen’s Derby.

The dual purpose trainer, who won Newcastle’s feature two mile handicap with Who Dares Win in 2019, decided on the morning of the Gold Cup to withdraw Trueshan due to the quick ground.

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And with the Newcastle race run on the Tapeta all-weather surface pioneered by Yorkshire racing legend Michael Dickinson and his wife Joan, King’s only qualms today appear to be Trueshan having to carry top weight of 10st 4lb.

Alan king saddles Northumberland Plate favoruite Trueshan a week after swerving the Ascot Gold Cup.

It explains why regular rider Hollie Doyle, who rode Trueshan to victory in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot last October, has been replaced in the saddle by apprentice rider Rhys Clutterbuck.

The five-pound claimer is widely regarded as one of the weighing room’s rising stars and his excitement was discernible when he was told by Gary Moore, his regular boss, that he would be aboard Trueshan. “It’s a big opportunity and it’s probably the best ride I’ve had so far,” he said. “It’s my first ride for Alan, and I’m hopeful I can make it happen for him.”

Meanwhile Middleham trainer Mark Johnston, whose Subjectivist won the Gold Cup, is represented by Hochfeld, Mildenberger, Themaxwecan and Watersmeet while former champion jockey Paul Hanagan partners Stargazer for Phil Kirby.

Today’s Irish Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby features a rematch between Dante first and third Hurricane Lane and High Definition.

Hurricane Lane won York’s feature race last month – with High Definition third – before going on to be placed in the Epsom Derby.

But Aidan O’Brien deliberately missed Epsom with High Definition and will be hoping that the wide open expanse of the Curragh plays to the strengths of the favourite.

The race also features Mojo Star after rider Rossa Ryan made a miraculous recovery from a broken collarbone and then appendicitis in the past month.

Andy Crook has paid tribute to Ryalux – the popular staying steeplechaser that he trained to win the 2003 Scottish Grand National at Ayr – who has died at 28.

“A horse who has been in my life for the past 25 years. I will be forever grateful to the Lomas family for giving me the chance to train him,” posted the Middleham trainer.