Lonsdale Cup Runners Guide & Tips: Stradivarius and Trueshan set for epic York clash

Stradivarius is fancied to down Trueshan in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup at York.
Stradivarius is fancied to down Trueshan in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup at York.

A mouth-watering staying clash is set to light up day three of York's Ebor Festival as Stradivarius and Trueshan do battle in the Lonsdale Cup on Friday afternoon. Steve Chambers looks at all five runners taking their chance in the Group 2 marathon, and picks out his best bet in the race...

1. Trueshan (H Doyle/A King)

High-class, progressive stayer that cruised to victory in the Goodwood Cup last time out and is looking to bag another notable staying prize by bounding to glory in the Lonsdale Cup at York. He showed he was a top class marathon performer at the end of last season when he landed a shock victory in the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day at Ascot, but defeats in the Ormonde Stakes and Northumberland Plate left many questioning whether he could deliver on the big stage again.

However, he showed all his class when obliterating his rivals in fine fashion at Glorious Goodwood, and while he benefited from Stradivarius not taking his chance (declared non-runner on the day), Trueshan showed that he is one of the premier staying performers in training and if he can replicate that Goodwood Cup run then he has to be a leading contender.

He will certainly benefit from any possible rain York may have in the lead-up to the race, and Alan King may opt to pull him out should the ground get too quick, but if Trueshan does take his chance then he's sure to put up a bold bid for glory and is one of the standout challengers.

2. Spanish Mission (W Buick/A Balding)

A three-length winner of the Doncaster Cup at the St Leger meeting last September, Spanish Mission could make no mark on Trueshan in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot as Andrew Balding's charge finished seventh that day. After contesting some valuable prizes on his travels to Riyadh and Meydan without victory, Spanish Mission roared back to form by claiming the scalps of Santiago and Sir Ron Priestley in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.

An excellent third behind Subjectivist in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June, Spanish Mission will relish his return to York on Friday, as he showed a real liking to the track when claiming that aforementioned Yorkshire Cup, and if he can repeat that display then he has to be a major thorn in the sides of Stradivarius and Trueshan, who are currently the top two in the betting.

Stamina is most certainly his forte, but having won the Yorkshire Cup over 1m 6f then he doesn't lack a bit of toe, and with ground conditions likely to be ideal for him then he has to be considered one of the main contenders for the win.

3. Stradivarius (L Dettori/J & T Gosden)

Multiple Group 1 winning seven-year-old Stradivarius will be the shining light in this five-strong field as the two times winner of the Lonsdale Cup will look to regain the Group 2 crown on day three of the Ebor Festival at York. A winner of this race back in 2018 and 2019, the John & Thady Gosden-trained raider is looking to bounce back to winning ways, as he was last seen finishing a disappointing fourth in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The dominant stayer of his generation, Stradivarius appeared to be firing on all cylinders on his comeback run as he claimed a comfortable success in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot, but a return to the Berkshire track in June didn't go to plan, as he found major traffic problems in the Gold Cup, and was only able to finish fourth behind the runaway winner Subjectivist.

Scratched in the hours leading up to the Goodwood Cup last month, the Gosden team have opted to try and recapture this prize, and he is set for an epic duel with Trueshan, who is sure to be a lively rival. If Stradivarius turns up with his A game then it's very hard to not see him claim a hat-trick of wins in this race, and while some punters may worry about that Ascot run, he's shown down the years he's a real class act, and with no traffic issues to emerge from this small field then he can return to the top of the staying ladder with success.

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4. Stratum (R Moore/W Mullins)

A former winner of the Cesarewtich Handicap at Newmarket back in 2019, Stratum claimed another notable handicap success at Royal Ascot, as the Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old won the Queen Alexandra Stakes back in June. A dominant three-and-a-quarter length winner that day, Stratum was then sent over hurdles, where he competed in a handicap hurdle at last month's Galway Festival, but he could only finish seventh.

A return to the Flat should see him in a much better light, and he showed when chasing home Enbihaar in last year's Lonsdale Cup that he can perform well in this event, but this year's renewal looks a much tougher proposition for the Closutton contender, and he will face a real uphill battle. Ryan Moore will hope to use his proven stamina to good effect here, but he's going to face a real stern test against the front three in the betting, and he will need them to underperform if he is to battle for first place.

5. The Grand Visir (R Kingscote/Ian Williams)

A main stay of all the premier staying handicaps in recent times, The Grand Visir has often produced his best displays at Royal Ascot, and this year was no different as he finished a gallant third behind the abovementioned Stratum in the Queen Alexandra. A former winner of the Ascot Stakes, the Ian Williams-trained seven-year-old was last seen finishing tenth in a Goodwood staying handicap, so he will need to improve immeasurably on that effort to get even close to winning here.

Stamina will certainly be no issue, and he arguably needs further than this distance, but it's nice to see him take his chance here, and he could be sent to the front early and try and make it a real stamina test, but will ultimately find it tough to play any sort of part in the finish.

Selection:

A fascinating five-runner renewal with it likely to be fought out by three contenders with Stradivarius, Trueshan and Spanish Mission all vying for glory. But, it's the legendary STRADIVARIUS that can return to the top of the staying ladder by outclassing Trueshan, who may find it tough on quicker ground than idea, and it will be the Gosden legend that can claim a third Lonsdale Cup.

Lonsdale Cup
Stradivarius silk

Stradivarius

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