sport

Mission accomplished in Huxley

Noble Mission upheld Sandown form with Telescope to win the Group Three Betfair Price Rush Huxley Stakes at Chester.

Lady Cecil's reformed five-year-old readily defeated Telescope at the Esher track a fortnight ago, and further underscored his dominance over that rival.

The keen-travelling Ektihaam and Noble Mission, a brother to the great Frankel, jostled for the lead from the outset, with the 9-4 favourite eventually winning that protracted battle.

Telescope joined in at the top of the home bend, but he could not respond to the winner's fleet-footed burst of energy and was two and a quarter lengths down at the line.

Jockey James Doyle, whose companion was carrying a 3lb penalty, said: "He just proved that he doesn't have to be in front the whole way.

"I'm chuffed to bits with him. He's a solid Group horse and always tries his best.

"He has been called names, and all the rest of it, but it's hard to fault him there."

Lady Cecil said: "I had no reason not to run him because he was in such great form.

"Over the winter, he did so well. He just seemed better and stronger.

"We just thought this year he would find a lot more improvement.

"The aim is to get a Group One, but to have those two Group Threes is good.

"He's remarkably consistent. I think he's probably got an unfair reputation.

"He's in the Hardwicke and it's always nice to have a runner at Royal Ascot. It's not for certain, but that will probably be his next target.

"He deserves a bit of a break."

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to winning owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "Sandown was a bit messy, as he was against unfit horses on testing ground.

"He had to fight to get a lead today and it wasn't easy as he was pushed wide, but he was happy in front and settled, then he got a little breather and went again.

"We were considering the Huxley against the Ormonde and decided on this as we thought it was best for the horse.

"The Hardwicke is a possible, but we will have to look at the options."

Racing manager Harry Herbert said of the Highclere Thoroughbred-owned Telescope: "He has run well and to be honest he has been beaten by a better horse on the day.

"I'll talk to Sir Michael (Stoute), but we will probably step up to a mile and a half on a more galloping track and I think the Hardwicke will be a likely option.

"He's got a long season ahead and I'd say he's coming, but today he's been beaten fair and square."

Paddy Power gave Noble Mission a 25-1 quote for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.