Telescope has eyes on Rose prize
Telescope takes a step up the ladder as he bids to prove his Group One credentials in Saturday's Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt had been a leading hope for the Derby only for an early season setback to force him out of his intended trial in the Dante and then the big race itself.
Given plenty of time to recover, Stoute sent the Galileo colt to Leicester for a three-runner conditions event in July and Telescope barely broke sweat in winning by 24 lengths in a quick time.
Telescope faces a stiffer test in the Group Three on Merseyside, with a clutch of Pattern-race winners, including Sri Putra and Lady Cecil's Noble Mission, in opposition.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, is hoping he can rise to the challenge.
He said: "Telescope is all set for the Rose of Lancaster and he's going there in good form.
"Sir Michael is very pleased with the horse and it's time to take the next step with him now.
"It was a bit of an unusual race at Leicester, with just the three runners, but the way he put it to bed and in the time he clocked, it was phenomenal.
"This is a very different test, a different type of race with some battle-hardened campaigners in Sri Putra, Quick Wit and Noble Mission to contend with.
"They are good horses with proven form and this will be tougher test and we'll keep our fingers crossed he can handle it.
"Sir Michael and Kevin Bradshaw, who rides him out, never thought he would be a horse to run on really testing ground and he's still developing so you wouldn't want him to have that kind of hard race."
Telescope has a number of big-race entries in the latter half of the campaign as Stoute and Highclere aim to make up for lost time.
But Herbert said: "It's very much one step at a time with him.
"He is entered in the Juddmonte, the Irish Champion, the Champion Stakes at
Ascot, all those kind of races but we will see how it goes on Saturday first.
"He has all those kind of options but he needs to prove he is up to that kind of level before we start making plans."
Noble Mission will be dropping back in trip for the 10-furlong heat having been campaigned exclusively over a mile and a half so far this season.
The four-year-old was last seen finishing fourth in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and has not run over the shorter trip since last May.
However, Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for owner Khalid Abdullah, is interested to see how the full brother to Frankel deals with the reduced distance.
"He's working well, he's been very straightforward this season and has been running consistently well," he said.
"We're coming back to a mile and a quarter with him now, which is a new challenge, so we'll see how he gets on. He's a solid horse."