/ Racing

Telescope hammers rivals in Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot

Updated: Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 19:17 | Comments

Telescope showed significant improvement for a return to fast ground and a step back up in distance
Telescope showed significant improvement for a return to fast ground and a step back up in distance

Telescope evoked memories of Harbinger when running away with the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Harbinger claimed this race in 2010 before taking the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 11 lengths.

Next month's showpiece over the course and distance beckons for the same owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, and trainer Michael Stoute after an electric display.

Telescope (7-4 favourite) has had his critics after he failed to live up to expectations as a candidate for the Investec Derby last year.

But having given time to develop and mature, he now looks the real deal. He also put two defeats this season behind him in some style under Ryan Moore.

Stoute was winning the race for an eighth time and, for good measure, the on-song Newmarket handler saddled fast-finishing runner-up Hillstar, but he was seven lengths down on his impressive stablemate at the line.

"He was very inconvenienced by the bad ground at Sandown and Chester, but he had his ground and showed what he is really made of," said Stoute.

"If he is in good shape I don't see why we won't come back here next month.

"If he did that again, he'd be in the shake-up in any big race."

Harry Herbert, Highclere's manager, said: "He's such an exciting horse and, as Ryan was just saying there, he's a man now.

"It's taken a while for him to learn how to race, but he's grown up.

"It was the right trip and that was a hell of a performance.

"I stood here after Harbinger had won as impressively and I said, 'Come on, let's go for the King George'.

Stoute has another progressive middle-distance performer in Arab Spring (11-4 favourite) after the four-year-old put up an admirable handicap performance to defy top weight in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

The Monsun colt could now head for the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket's July meeting and possibly even the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in the autumn after he duly dispensed of some decent opposition.

Again it was Moore, who guided him two lengths clear of the game pacesetter Salutation, with Havana Cooler third.

Peter Reynolds, general manager for owners Ballymacoll Stud, said: "Michael takes these horses along slowly. We'll take it stage by stage, but hopefully he's finished with handicaps now.

"He has some serious entries, which is wonderful, including the Champion Stakes (at Leopardstown) and the Arc.

"The Arc is the one race the Weinstock family and Ballymacoll Stud haven't had a winner of yet and we'd love to do it, so if he's good enough to get to the Arc, he might just be there.

"Sir Michael said at the start of the year, 'Don't sell him'. We need a flag-bearer, and he's our guy.

"He had an injury last year but he has done everything right this year.

"He has entered him in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket and that could be a race for him."

John Gosden enjoyed a fourth success at the meeting when Richard Pankhurst (10-1) landed the Chesham Stakes to give his wife Rachel Hood a first ever Royal winner as an owner.

Gosden also bred the winner, whom his wife named after the husband of leading suffragette Emily Pankhurst.

William Buick delivered the son of Raven's Pass with a blistering challenge towards the near-side rail to pounce inside the final furlong and go on and win by three and three-quarters of a length from Toscanini, with the 15-8 favourite Dick Whittington third.

Gosden said: "Richard Pankhurst was a man of great moral courage. He was against slavery and wanted to get rid of the House of Lords, have home rule for Ireland and the women's vote.

"He died young and skint, but was a brave man."

Gosden had no immediate plans for the horse but he was quoted as low as 14-1 for the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket next season.

Baccarat later surged clear in the hands of apprentice jockey George Chaloner to claim the Wokingham Stakes.

Having filled the runner-up spot on his previous two starts this season at Thirsk and York, Richard Fahey's five-year-old was among the leading contenders for the six-furlong sprint at odds of 9-1.

The huge field split into three groups early on, with Baccarat among the clutch of horses racing towards the stands rail.

It was clear from over a furlong out that those horses on that part of the track were ideally placed.

Baccarat quickened up to lead at that point under his talented young rider and although there were challengers right across the track, Fahey's charge kept up the gallop and was well on top at the line.

Professor was a length and a half away in second, with Rivellino and the winner's stable companion, Alben Star, picking up minor honours in third and fourth respectively.

Fahey said: "He (Baccarat) will take a step up in class now. He won't have too many more chances now of winning handicaps."

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