Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Stoute eyes Leicester lift for Telescope comeback

Stoute: Telescope seasonal debut
Stoute: Telescope seasonal debut

JA McGrath

Michael Stoute sent Telescope to Leicester early last night in an attempt to beat the heatwave conditions, hoping that his highly rated colt can finally shine.

The veteran trainer took the move as he also wanted to give his charge a chance to regain his confidence for travel after a setback suffered earlier in the season.

Telescope, a one-time leading Epsom Derby contender, runs in today's At The Races Sky 415 Conditions Stakes (3.10), in which he is scheduled to face just two rivals and, on paper, seems to have a relatively simple task.

Taking him on is Godolphin's impressive Haydock maiden winner Mulakim and the Marco Botti-trained Centurius. The latter is looking to bounce back after finishing last of 12 runners in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Late yesterday, Stoute's main concern was the likely fast ground. "Stuart (Messenger, head lad at Freemason Lodge) will have a look at the course when he gets there. They have put on plenty of water, but we'll see what it is like later," the trainer said.

"We would like to run at Leicester because there are only three runners, he is against his own age group, and it would be a nice reintroduction."

Telescope, which has not run for 294 days, also holds an entry in Saturday's Steventon Stakes, a Listed race over a mile and a quarter at Newbury, which appears a much tougher assignment.

Harry Herbert, chairman of Highclere, who own Telescope, believes Stoute's painstaking planning to get the colt back on course is proof of the trainer's belief in the three year-old.

"It has been the classic scenario. He wanted to get Telescope to the Derby, against all the odds, but the day it went wrong, he said 'let's reorganise the horse and let him find his way back in his own time'.

"He's been working very well at home, but it's now time for him to start doing it on the racecourse."

Stoute also had news of Opinion, which won at Royal Ascot before being finishing fifth in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock Park

Although Opinion is 10/1 favourite for the Betfred Ebor on August 24, Stoute is thinking of running him first in a Pattern race at Goodwood before committing him elsewhere. "We'll give a little thought to Goodwood," he said.

Elsewhere, the Ralph Beckett-trained Secret Gesture has been ruled out of Saturday's Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh after knocking a hind leg. But Beckett will still be well represented as he also trains Epsom Oaks winner Talent. The latter – 5/2 joint-favourite with the Lady Cecil-trained Riposte – was supplemented on Monday at a cost of €40,000 and has been popular in the ante-post market with a number of firms.

Coral's David Stevens said: "Riposte has been well backed in the last 24 hours to give Lady Cecil what would be an emotional first Classic success, and she now shares favouritism with Talent."

Riposte and Talent are the 11/4 joint-favourites with Paddy Power.

Meanwhile, David Marnane is eyeing a tilt at the Ayr Gold Cup with Red Dubawi after his creditable fourth in last Sunday's Belgrave Stakes at Fairyhouse. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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