Telescope takes a significant step up the ladder as he bids to prove his Group One credentials in Saturday's Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.

The 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 Jane 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.

"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.”

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."

Former Aidan O'Brien-trained David Livingston represents South African trainer Mike de Kock on the back of two decent runs already for his new handler, when fifth in the Royal Hunt Cup and fourth in a Listed race at Sandown behind the classy Mandour.

The bang in-form Johnny Murtagh teams up with De Kock.

"He's done pretty well in his two runs here already," said De Kock's assistant Steve Jell.

"This looks a stiff test but we think he'll do OK.

"He's certainly improved since we've had him. We got Archipenko off Aidan but I don't think this lad is in the same class as him, he took us to the best races all around the world. This is his level, Listed or Group Threes.

"He's done well since his last run and he's matured but everyone is talking about Telescope as if he's going to be very hard to beat.

"I'm not sure if Johnny has ridden for us in England before but we've always had a lot of banter with him and we keep in touch, we all go back a long way from Dubai.

"Johnny's having a great year so hopefully we can provide him with a winner."

Roger Varian's Sri Putra has been a grand servant down the years, winning twice at Group Two level at his peak, but he has failed to reproduce that form in three runs so far this season.

"He has not really performed on the track so far this year, but everything he does at home suggests he's every bit as good as he was last season, when he won a couple of nice races," said Varian.

"He's always been inconsistent, but he can produce a really good performance from time to time.

"If he fancies it on Saturday and he's on-song, I'm sure he'll run very well."

Saeed bin Suroor runs Quick Wit, who won on quick ground at Doncaster last time out.

"He's doing well this season," said the Godolphin trainer.

"He never shows much in a morning, actually, but on a racetrack he is much better than that thankfully.

"I think he could run a nice race and maybe get a place."