Marcus Tregoning has issued an upbeat report on his intended Ascot Gold Cup contender Askar Tau, who returned recently to racecourse action after an extended period on the sidelines and pleased connections in running sixth to Opinion Poll in the Group 2 Henry II Stakes at Sandown’s showcase evening fixture at the end of May, writes Elliot Slater.

The seven-year-old was running for the first time in more than 11 months having last been seen in action when shocking punters who bet online on racing at Bet Victor  by running a fine race to belie his 66/1 odds in finishing fifth to the high-class Fame And Glory in the Ascot Gold Cup. It was a contest in which he came through to challenge approaching the two furlong from home marker but eventually faded inside the distance to nonetheless finish a respectable eight lengths off the Ballydoyle-trained winner.

Askar Tau had progressed through handicap company in his first few seasons in training to win the Group 2 Lonsdale Stakes and Doncaster Cup in 2009 and looked as though he could go right to the top of the staying tree, but he failed to find his form in a curtailed 2010 season before returning last term to show he still retains plenty of ability.

After taking the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April 2011 the son of Montjeu ran respectably in the Yorkshire Cup before taking his chance at Ascot, and having blown away the cobwebs with a promising first outing of this campaign Tregoning is hopeful his tough campaigner will again give another good account of himself on June 21 against Fame And Glory and possible make the frame. The Lambourn-based handler may also run the filly Hawaafez in the Gold Cup after the daughter of Nayef easily accounted for her five rivals in the listed Aston Park Stakes at Newbury last month.

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