By Simon Jackson.
Telescope is focussed on a lucrative double at Ascot as connections eye the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Telescope bagged his fifth career success when winning the £100,000 Listed Al Rayyan Stakes by six lengths under Ryan Moore at Newbury on Saturday. The success continued the ultra-consistent five-year-olds dependable form that has seen him finish in the first three in 12 of his 13 starts that has secured £760,000 in prize money.
Telescope, a son of the 2001 Derby winner Galileo, was a seven-length winner of the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and is best priced at 6-4 (Betfred) – but as short as even money – for this year’s race.
“Telescope came out of Newmarket [where he finished second] well and the problem there was that he was bit race-fresh. They kept slowing the pace down, he got keener and keener and then dissipated a little bit too much energy for the final rush up the hill,” trainer Sir Michael Stoute said at Newbury.
“Today’s performance was very smooth and very impressive. I am delighted with him. I think that he is Group 1 and a half at the moment but I suppose we will go Hardwicke and then plan the second half of the season. He is a great traveller and we have got many options.
“Telescope is a very honest, consistent horse and a big, rangy fellow who has got a little bit stronger again from four to five. He had a greyhound look about him, even last year, and you would hope that we could progress a little bit but he doesn’t have to do too much more to win a really good pot.
“I would have been disappointed if he couldn’t have beaten them today.”
Moore added: “We have gone very slowly for the first seven furlongs and it’s not ideal for him because you are taking him back the whole time. He has got such a big, long stride and you would rather that horses were going on.
“It wasn’t a very deep race and he is a lot better than them but he has destroyed them. He is a very good horse and hopefully he will progress again. It was a quick turnaround [from Newmarket] and I would say that he would go to Royal Ascot with a good chance.”
Alex Smith, racing manager for Telescope’s owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “We are thrilled with Telescope – it looked a good spot for him today, the right race with perfect ground.
“He will go to the Hardwicke Stakes, in which we had had some luck before and then hopefully for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes back at Ascot.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.