Flat racing rarely sees a horse win by a distance of 24 lengths. Sir Michael Stoute’s one time Derby hope Telescope did just that at Leicester yesterday in a time just 0.1 seconds outside the course record.
Prize money of £5,761.20 is merely loose change in the back pocket of owners Highclere Racing. Far more important was some reasonable evidence that the horse, which was favourite for the Epsom classic last winter, has recovered from the sore shins and cuts and grazes on his legs that prevented him running there.
The race proved little more than an exercise canter, as rivals Mulakim and Centurius were left needing a telescope to keep tabs on the winner once Ryan Moore let him go three furlongs from home. But you can only beat what you’re up against.
Stoute was clearly relieved to see his charge out on the racecourse again after a break of 294 days. He said, “He’s done nothing wrong on the racecourse and I’m pleased with that. It’s been frustrating until now, especially for the owners, but hopefully we can get going from here. He’s got a lot of possible targets and we’ll try to make a definite plan in about a week’s time when we’ve seen how he’s come out of this.”
Those plans are sure to include Group 1 races over further than yesterday’s ten furlongs. Telescope has entries in the Neptune Investment Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Juddmonte International at York next month, and unless further problems develop I expect to see him run in one of those races.
Later on in the season, the Irish Champion Stakes, and the Arc are on the horizon, and Telescope could yet become a Classic winner in the St Leger, for which he’s priced between 6/1 and 8/1. Bookmakers certainly felt that Telescope was back, and Paddy Power introduced him into their Arc market at 14/1.
In my view, the interesting betting proposition is Coral’s offer of 7/2 about him winning any Group 1 race this season, almost twice the price Paddy Power have him. I think that’s worth a pub round investment. Any other takers?