Telescope: 1m4f is his optimum trip
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Preview: USA, Saturday Live on ATR (10.22pm GMT)
Santa Anita: Breeders’ Cup Turf (Grade 1) 1m4f, turf, 3yo+
SUCH is Europe’s superiority in the Turf it has almost become regarded as a home match. Seven of the last ten winners were trained in Europe and two of those were under the care of Sir Michael Stoute, who runs one of the leading players in Telescope.
A storming seven-length winner of the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes in mid-summer, Telescope was subsequently placed in Group 1 company behind Taghrooda in the King George and Australia in the Juddmonte International. All three performances advertise his chance here, particularly as he will be running over his optimum distance and on his preferred fast ground.
With last year’s winner Magician unable to defend his title due to lameness, the main challenger to Telescope could well be the Andre Fabre-trained Flintshire, who was runner-up to Treve in last month’s Arc, beaten two lengths.
It is to Flintshire’s advantage that he has undergone a relatively light season, having had almost three months off in mid-summer – as is Fabre’s way – with the Arc and Breeders’ Cup his prime objectives.
Magician’s defection was a blow for Aidan O’Brien, but he will be represented by the sometimes tricky Chicquita, who threw away Ascot’s Group 1 Fillies Mares last month by hanging left in the closing stages. It is not the first time she has shown such erratic behaviour and she will be a challenge for Frankie Dettori, who will take the ride as her 8st 11lb is below Joseph O’Brien’s minimum. Dettori will be under orders to deliver her late. A left-hand course looks sure to assist him.
If there is to be a US winner it is most likely to be Main Sequence, who was runner-up to Camelot in the 2012 Derby when trained by David Lanigan in Lambourn but is now under the care of Graham Motion.
Fabre’s familiar path
Andre Fabre won this in 2005 with Shirocco, who like his runner tonight Flintshire had come straight from the Arc. Shirocco was fourth at Longchamp to stable mate Hurricane Run.
Main Sequence, not seen in Britain since finishing down the field in the 2013 Champion Stakes, completed a Grade 1 hat-trick for his new trainer Graham Motion when winning at Belmont Park in late September, all his wins coming on fast ground. He retains his tail-swishing habit however.
Hot race for O’Brien
Aidan O’Brien, represented by Chicquita, has won two of the three most recent runnings, with St Nicholas Abbey and Magician.
What they say
Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Telescope
He did it well at Royal Ascot. He ran well in the King George, where a super filly beat him. It was a good run in the International but I think a mile and a half is his optimum trip. He ran two good races at a mile and a half at Ascot and last year he won the Voltigeur when we upped him to a mile and a half. He is in there with a good shot. He is very consistent.
Tom Dascombe, trainer of Brown Panther
He has settled really well with a pony here. I don’t know what happened in Canada. We want to try to get a run for our money this time. It’s obviously a much tougher race than the Canadian International. This is a bit of an afterthought and Flintshire and horses like that will be much more difficult to beat.
Andre Fabre, trainer of Flintshire
He’s in good condition because he’s a fresh horse having been lightly raced this year. He enjoys both good ground and hot weather so he should run a good race. The American tracks are very well designed and any horse will act around them.
Eddie Graham, trainer of Hardest Core
He looked just as good, if not better, than he did before his win in the Arlington Million. I’m just hoping he’s in the same kind of form as last time. He looks great and the trip didn’t bother him at all – he’s happy. He shipped perfectly.
Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Chicquita
She has very good form over a mile and a half. She has to be ridden patiently – she will have to be delivered late. At Ascot she got to the front a furlong out and still veered. We just thought it might be easier to deliver her late over a mile and a half.
Graham Motion, trainer of Main Sequence
I was surprised the way he ran the first time. I don’t think I could have anticipated that. I think he’s improved every time he’s run. Physically and mentally, he’s a much better horse. I’ve seen a progression every time he’s run.
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