Time for Telescope to deliver

After two pleasing efforts this season, today should be the day we see what Telescope is truly made of, and he earns the nap selection to give trainer Michael Stoute his eighth victory in the Hardwicke Stakes.

Time for Telescope to deliver

The now four-year-old looked a colt of real ability when winning the second of his two juvenile starts very easily. That came at Newmarket, in what turned out to be a good maiden, and it left the impression the winner could be a Derby horse for last year.

However, he didn’t make it back to the track until July of 2013, when he won a four-runner conditions race at Leicester by no fewer than 24 lengths.

He was beaten at odds-on next time out, finishing second to David Livingston.

But, he bounced back to winning ways in the Great Voltigeur, over a mile and a half at York on his final start of the season, readily accounting for Foundry and Secret Number.

The form of that race was given real substance when the runner-up went on to finish less than three and a half lengths behind Leading Light in the Doncaster St Leger, with Secret Number just half a length further back.

Telescope doesn't stand much racing but was given a considerate reintroduction when second, beaten nine lengths behind a race-fit Noble Mission on ground that was softer than ideal. He got much closer to that rival on similar conditions last time at Chester, and that should have put him spot on for today's race.

Those efforts were both over ten furlongs and were given a real boost when the winner accounted for Prince Of Wales’s Stakes runner-up Magician in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at Curragh next time.

The return a mile and a half, over which he produced his best effort to date, should bring out the best in the Stoute horse, particularly on fast ground.

There should be no excuses today and the race should provide definitive evidence whether or not he's going to make up into a Group 1 horse.

His stable companion, Hillstar, is second favourite but may not be the most straightforward.

He could not get involved in the Dubai World Cup, and was beaten favourite behind Brown Panther on his return to Britain. That came on soft ground, he wore a hood in the paddock then, and can pull hard in his races. A return to faster going helps, but he has a bit to prove.

Telescope looks more progressive and is likely to have been targeted to peak for this race.

The supplemented Forgotten Voice deserves consideration, but Eye Of The Storm is hard to fancy, while Dandino was runner-up to Thomas Chippendale in this race last year and should run well despite not having had a prep race.

A return to Australia for another crack at the Melbourne Cup is likely to be his primary target for the season.

Regardless, he appeared to have every chance last year and came up short.

Ektihaam was sent off favourite for last year’s renewal and was being given a very positive ride before slipping up on the bend. He has struggled to find his form in two runs since, and that leaves him with plenty to prove.

If he is ridden as aggressively this time, it could tee-up the race for Telescope.

Tiger Cliff is a deserving favourite for the Queen Alexandra and will take beating.

A specialist's race, run over just shy of two miles and six furlongs, it demands a lot of a horse, but this fellow ran a super race in defeat behind Well Sharp in the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot Stakes at this meeting last year.

The extra yards of this race should be well within compass for the five-year-old, who is now with Alan King, having been in the care of the late Henry Cecil before a brief spell under Jane Cecil.

He made his seasonal debut, and first start for King, when third, beaten less than a length behind the rapidly progressive Gospel Choir, and followed it up with another fine run, that time behind Gold Cup fourth Brown Panther, in unsuitably soft conditions.

In lesser company now and back on fast ground, the lightly raced gelding has scope for improvement at staying trips and looks certain to run a huge race.

Whiplash Willie was in front of Tiger Cliff last time but may struggle to confirm the form under today's conditions.

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