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Herbert: ‘Telescope attempting to win a QIPCO Champion Stakes is something very special’

29 Aug 2013

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Managing Director Harry Herbert believes Telescope running in the QIPCO Champion Stakes on British Champions Day will be a special moment for connections.

Telescope on his way to a 24-length victory at Leicester on his seasonal reappearance. Image copyright of

With all the top-class races across the world available to Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and Sir Michael Stoute for the incredibly exciting Telescope, it is the QIPCO Champions Stakes on British Champions Day that has proved to be an opportunity too good to turn down.

The three-year-old, who was the one-time Investec Derby favourite, won the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last week in such impressive fashion that it presented  himself to be, potentially, every bit a champion racehorse.

And, understandably, connections are very excited about his future, including Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Managing Director Harry Herbert.

Herbert, who was responsible for 2005 Derby winner Motivator and 2010 King George champion Harbinger, feels that Telescope running in the QIPCO Champions Stakes on Saturday 19th October at Ascot Racecourse will be a special occasion for all involved.

“We wanted to run in a Group 1 and had three options we were looking at – the Arc, the St Leger, and the QIPCO Champion Stakes,” said Herbert.

“Two things were involved in our decision. Sir Michael (Stoute) felt that Telescope is still developing, and running over a longer trip wasn’t the right move at this stage.

“But also, trying to win a Champion Stakes is something very special. It’s one of the great races in the European calendar. It’s a fantastic raceday. It’s proven over the last few years to be packed with atmosphere.

“I was there last year to see Frankel’s last race, and it was one of the best days I’ve ever been to. A day like this makes it very easy for us to plan ahead.”

Telescope, then, looks to be heading for stardom, but that is not the only connection the horse has to the stars.

Manchester United hero Sir Alex Ferguson is a part-owner of the son of Galileo in Highclere Thoroughbred Racing‘s Wavertree syndicate.

Herbert knows that the dual UEFA Champions League-winning manager, as well as the rest of the owners, is thrilled about the colt’s prospects not only for this campaign, but for next year as well.

He said: “He’s (Sir Alex Ferguson) hugely excited. I spoke to him yesterday and he’s absolutely delighted with the news, as are all the owners.

“They’re all saying what a thrill it is. It’s been a very popular decision amongst all the owners.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves at this stage, but I’m hoping that he’ll be a horse that can run over 1m2f and 1m4f. The King George would be very high on our list of targets for next year.”

For now, at least, the focus is on the QIPCO Champion Stakes, where Telescope is expected to face some of the world’s powerhouse middle distance horses on British Champions Day.

These include Champions Series star Al Kazeem, Juddmonte International Stakes victor Declaration of War and 2011 QIPCO Champion Stakes champion, Cirrus des Aigles.

Tickets to see this mouth-watering clash are still available. Click here to make sure you do not miss out.