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Who Will Prove to Be the Champion Stayer In the Long Distance Cup?

The Flat racing season has had a habit of delivering some epic rivalries over the years.

And now we can add the fiercely contested battle between three game stayers – Stradivarius, Trueshan and Kyprios – to the ranks.

The former duo of the triumvirate look set to battle it out in the Lonsdale Cup in August, but it’s the end-of-season duel in the British Champions Long Distance Cup that is the most appetising of all.

The two-mile jaunt will take place at Ascot on October 15, and a case can be made for each of the trio to land the near £300,000 top prize for their connections. Indeed, we expect the horse racing tips to be split fairly evenly between Stradivarius, the gnarled veteran who has earned more than £5 million in prize money, two-time Long Distance Cup champion Trueshan and Ascot Gold Cup winner Kyprios.

But where is the smart money going?

Like a Fine Wine?

At eight years old, the Long Distance Cup could be Stradivarius’ final outing as a contender of major honours.

The brilliant battler has shown signs of age in 2022, and after returning back in May with victory in the Yorkshire Cup, he has since struggled to keep up with his younger rivals.

Some criticism was levelled at jockey Frankie Dettori for his ride aboard Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup – so much so it led to his temporary uncoupling from trainer John Gosden, but his replacement was Andrea Atzeni was unable to guide the horse to victory either in the subsequent Goodwood Cup.

In truth, Stradivarius was just a short neck behind Kyprios in the latter race, but there are some doubts about the veteran on softer ground – he rarely serves up his best form later in the season – and so his status as the outsider of the trio in the Long Distance Cup is perhaps justified.

Horses for Courses

Trueshan will be looking to become the first horse to complete a consecutive hat-trick of wins in the Long Distance Cup since Further Flight in the mid-1990s.

The French horse evidently loves life at Ascot, and it’s perhaps no coincidence that some of his finest racing days have come on softer ground towards the end of the season – Trueshan blitzed Stradivarius by more than four lengths at Longchamp in the Prix du Cadran last term.

Ante-post punters aren’t afforded the luxury of a crystal ball when it comes to predicting the weather, but assuming the ground has softened by October there’s no doubt that Trueshan is a live contender for a Long Distance Cup three-peat at 2/1.

The Young Pretender

Given that he’s just four years old, we’re all still learning about the capabilities of Kyprios.

But his breakout in 2022 as a champion stayer shows that age is but a number in racing, and with four wins on the spin – a couple of them in high-profile renewals – there’s no doubt that Kyprios has the class to go in again in the Long Distance Cup.

However, he has only been lightly raced in the stodgier months of the Flat racing calendar in September and October, and so there are question marks about his ability on softer ground. And so Trueshan remains the standout contender in what will be a fitting finale to this trio’s rivalry in 2022.