Rivals need a Telescope as Highclere colt routs Hardwicke opposition
With just three days to go until you know what, David Milnes looks back at the royal meeting of 2014 . . .
Telescope finally turned in a performance to match his looks with a devastating seven-length romp in the Hardwicke Stakes under Ryan Moore on the final day of Royal Ascot three years ago.
Owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing had broken all their rules to buy the son of Galileo for 225,000gns at the sales in 2011, but his career had largely been one of missed opportunities – until this point.
Telescope had been trainer Sir Michael Stoute's great hope for the previous year's Derby but was forced to miss the race through injury. He had returned later that year to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes, before further issues arose.
'They were beginning to lose faith'
Telescope kicked off his third season with a couple of placed efforts at Sandown and Chester before turning in a career-best performance in the Hardwicke at Ascot, where he justified 7-4 favouritism in style when hammering stablemate Hillstar, with the rest well strung out.
Harry Herbert, racing manager to Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, recalls: "Telescope had been so hyped up and had proved so frustrating until he went to Ascot that some of the syndicate members were beginning to lose faith.
"He'd always been so well regarded by Sir Michael Stoute from what he'd seen on the home gallops that it was really special when it all came together on one exhilarating day. Any Royal Ascot win is such a pinnacle of a horse's career, but to win in such a phenomenal way was very satisfying."
After the romp, Telescope was raised to his highest ever mark of 123, but he was undone by the filly Taghrooda back at Ascot four weeks later in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Herbert says: "Telescope reminded us of Harbinger [who did the Hardwicke-King George double in 2010] and we were expecting another King George win. Had Sheikh Hamdan sent his filly to the Irish Oaks instead of to Ascot, we'd have got it."
Telescope retired the following year and is now a jumps stallion.
Herbert adds: "Two of the syndicate, Mike and Joanna Richards, loved Telescope so much that they recently bought one of his foals, and he's a smashing looker, just like his dad."