sport

Telescope in Highclere focus

Highclere Thoroughbreds are looking forward to seeing to the upcoming year on the Flat with their Derby candidate, Telescope.

Last season Highclere really broke through into the big time and in Bonfire and Vow had genuine claims in the Derby and Oaks - although both were eventually found wanting.

Highclere's clients are hardly your average man off the street - Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville is the latest addition to their star-studded ranks - but the well-heeled syndicate is still punching above its weight taking on the likes of Coolmore and Godolphin.

Harbinger won the King George And Queen Elizabeth Stakes for Highclere in 2010 but injury cruelly robbed connections of seeing how good he really could be

In Telescope, like Harbinger trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Highclere once again have a top-class middle distance prospect.

"We hope to have a few nice horses next year, but without doubt the most exciting at this stage is Telescope who is high up in the ante-post betting for the Derby," said Harry Herbert.

"He's by Galileo, who can do no wrong, and was very impressive on the second start of his career after just being touched off on his debut.

"He's got considerable potential and is certainly something to keep us warm over the winter."

Guarantee represented the syndicate in the St Leger after three quick wins in the summer. The Classic proved beyond him but trainer William Haggas is already plotting for next season.

"Guarantee was very progressive in a short period of time last season. He progressed so much that we think a good winter break will do him the world of good," Herbert said.

"He'll be aimed at all the staying races next season and we're really looking forward to him.

"One horse that everyone seems to have forgotten about is Richard Hannon's Gusto.

"He won four Listed races on the spin which I'm not sure has ever been done before and he'll be back next season.

"He's fit and well but just had a knee issue which forced him to miss the second half of the season.

"It's a possibility he'll start off at Listed level again before being hopefully upped in class.

"I think he'll stay a mile but he's been winning over six and seven furlongs. His ideal trip is seven but has the speed to win over six.

"He goes on any ground, he looks great and is moving well.

"It's too early to suggest a two-year-old to follow as most haven't been named but we've sent a horse out to Australia. Rule Book has joined Gai Waterhouse in the hope he's a Melbourne Cup horse.

"We've bought into a nice horse with Charlie Hills called Glenard. He was a no-show in the Autumn Stakes but he'll make a lovely three-year-old, he won well on his debut.

"And of course we've got Bonfire coming back. He was gelded after the Eclipse and has been given plenty of time to recover.

"He's physically done very well and will go back to Andrew Balding in January.

"The same partnership have Vow and we now know the ground is very important to her, she just can't act on soft.

"Her best two runs were on the all-weather at Lingfield and in the Oaks on fast ground. She'll make a nice horse next year."