With last year’s winner Rite of Passage still far from certain to take his chance in next Thursday’s Ascot Gold Cup, Marcus Tregoning is beginning to feel cautiously optimistic that his good stayer Askar Tau might run a very big race in the marathon contest and have definite place prospects.
The Dermot Weld-trained defending champion has suffered a training setback and it will be touch and go as to whether he will line up for the Group 1 two-and-a-half-mile contest, the highlight of the Ladies Day card. Although he is reported in the peak of good health, current favourite Fame And Glory will be going into uncharted territory having never raced beyond 14 furlongs, so proven stayers really could have a big opportunity to make a name for themselves in this year’s renewal. Anyone planning an Ascot bet should bear him in mind.
Askar Tau, a winner of 8 of his 21 career starts including the 2009 Doncaster Cup, has no stamina concerns and has already shown himself to be in good heart so far this term. After finishing a close third to The Betchworth Kid at Nottingham in early April he reappeared three weeks later to win the Group 3 Totepool Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in impressive fashion, bounding away from the useful stayer Akmal to record a two-and-a-half-length success. The Ascot horse betting indicates he has every chance of landing the contest.
Although he finished only sixth of the eight runners behind Duncan in the Group 2 Yorkshire couple a fortnight later, Tregoning’s gelded son of Montjeu was beaten less than five lengths in a race that probably didn’t play to his strengths. The Lambourn handler reports the six-year-old to be in great shape at the moment and as long as the forecast rain doesn’t impact too much on the underfoot conditions hopes are very high that the current 16/1 shot will be very much in the thick of the action.