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St Leger Festival: Trueshan declared a non-runner for Doncaster Cup due to ground leaving Stradivarius to face five

Trainer Alan King declared Trueshan a non-runner due to lack of rain at Doncaster; official going remains good to firm after 5mm of rain on Thursday; Stradivarius faces five rivals in bid for second Doncaster Cup, live on Sky Sports Racing at 2.40pm on Friday

Trueshan has been withdrawn from the Doncaster Cup field due to the ground conditions
Image: Trueshan has been withdrawn from the Doncaster Cup field due to the ground conditions

Trueshan will miss his intended re-match with Stradivarius in the Doncaster Cup, because of a lack of significant rain on Town Moor.

Trainer Alan King had indicated on Thursday that the Goodwood Cup winner would not take his chance in the Group Two feature unless overnight rain softened the forecast good to firm ground.

It was therefore no surprise when King made an early announcement on Friday morning that Trueshan will be a non-runner because of the going - leaving John and Thady Gosden's brilliant stayer Stradivarius with just five opponents as he bids to regain his Doncaster title.

St Leger live on Sky Sports Racing
St Leger live on Sky Sports Racing

Watch every race of the St Leger Festival at Doncaster live on Sky Sports Racing from September 8-11

The going at Doncaster remains good to firm, after 5mm of rain on Thursday.

Stradivarius returned to winning ways at York last time out, beating Spanish Mission in a tremendous tussle to win the Lonsdale Cup.

Doyle and Trueshan won on soft ground at Ascot in October
Image: Hollie Doyle had been booked to ride Trueshan

Frankie Dettori, who has developed a special bond with the seven-year-old, rides once more.

"I think he only does what needs to be done these days. He's been great for the sport, I love him dearly," said Dettori.

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Image: Frankie Dettori rides Stradivarius in Friday's Doncaster Cup

"He got a tremendous reception at York. He'll probably get one at Doncaster. He's not going to be here forever, so let's enjoy him. He's done so much for the sport. Let's hope he does the business.

"As for tactics, I usually improvise with him. With him, we have to play it by ear. Luckily, he knows where the winning post is. He's been fabulous for the sport and the reception I got at York was such a thrill. People love him, it's great."

Spanish Mission, left, is beaten by Stradivarius in a thrilling finish to the Lonsdale Cup at York
Image: Stradivarius beats Spanish Mission in a thrilling finish to the Lonsdale Cup at York

The remaining rivals

Trueshan's withdrawals leaves Rodrigo Diaz as the main rival to Stradivarius.

Trainer David Simcock said: "Staying was always going to be his game. He's a horse who has taken a lot of time to develop and is now getting better and better with racing. The track suits him and the trip should really suit him too. He also enjoys fast ground.

"There's plenty between Rodrigo Diaz and Stradivarius at the weights still, but the fact that he ran so well at Newbury over a trip we felt was inadequate for him gives us hope, as we know there's going to be improvement when he steps up in trip.

"Half of him has been sold to Australian Bloodstock and we still have the Melbourne Cup in the back of our minds. Although it's far from straightforward logistically, this year could be as good as any to be involved so far as the depth of the race goes. A decision will be made after Doncaster."

Rodrigo Diaz (green cap) finishes behind Scaramanga at Newbury in July
Image: Rodrigo Diaz (green cap) finishes behind Scaramanga at Newbury in July

Mark Johnston relies on Nayef Road, who has been below form recently.

Johnston said: "Nayef Road might not have been running to his absolute best this year, but he's not a long way short of it and he deserves to win one of these."

Sir Mark Prescott is following a familiar route with Kirsten Rausing's three-year-old Alerta Roja.

"Alerta Roja is wonderfully tough and she's already exceeded what we thought was possible for her," said Prescott.

"On the figures, she doesn't have a chance, but we did win it with Alleluia, who was very similar and was also a three-year-old filly.

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"Alleluia won five, and this one, who is from the same family, has won three and been Listed placed. While ostensibly she's got no chance, she seems in good form and she gets a lot of weight. Nothing is impossible with this family."

Ian Williams' The Grand Visir and David O'Meara's Eagles By Day complete the line-up.

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