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Stradivarius Gold Cup rematch the aim for Tashkhan - but on one condition

Tashkan: will need rain to run in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next month
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Brian Ellison will be reliant on rain if he is to pitch Tashkhan against his Yorkshire Cup conqueror Stradivarius in next month's Ascot Gold Cup.

The four-year-old was one of the most progressive horses of last year, culminating in a fine effort to finish second in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day, and he put up a solid performance when a three-length third behind legendary stayer Stradivarius at York on Friday.

The ground on the Knavesmire was described good, good to firm in places, but Ellison insisted Tashkhan will not take his chance in the 2m4f Group 1 at Royal Ascot unless there is sufficient rainfall before the race.

Tashkhan (second from left) runs a stormer behind Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup

"We're happy with the way he is, he came out of the race well and ate up," he said. "As long as the ground is all right he heads to Ascot, I wouldn't want to run him on the ground like yesterday again. It was clear to me he doesn't like it.

"He wants a bit of juice in the ground and it was quick enough. He ran really well considering he hates it to be only beaten three lengths. We just need that bit of rain for him."

Should that rain, the trainer would relish pitching Tashkhan into another rematch against Stradivarius – with the score at 1-1 having finished in front of him on Champions Day – and his Long Distance Cup conqueror Trueshan, whose trainer Alan King will also be doing a rain dance in the build-up to Royal Ascot.

Ellison added: "We know he gets two miles well and obviously think two and a half in the Gold Cup will suit him, but the ground will be the be-all and end-all. We don't want good to firm.

"It would be a great race. I was really pleased for Stradivarius on Friday. He's a grand horse and is great for Flat racing."

Tashkan details

Read more:

Yorkshire Cup: 'You'll never find one like that' - another memorable win for Stradivarius

JP McManus horses mixed up in another wrong horse debacle at Kilbeggan

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We know he gets two miles well and obviously think two and a half in the Gold Cup will suit him, but the ground will be the be-all and end-all
E.W. Terms