You don’t need a Telescope to see the Emperor’s New Clothes
25 July 2014
So often in racing an impressive winner is sent off a short-priced favourite next time out and we all scratch our heads when it gets turned over.
Except that this time, I won’t be scratching my head because I’ve laid Telescope in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes all in.
Admittedly, laying him earlier in the week at 7-4 was much more satisfying than having to wade in now at around 5-2, but he is likely to be backed and if you can oppose the mount of Ryan Moore at around 2-1 I think that is a fair level.
Stepping up to Group One company is not taken lightly, especially in what is generally regarded as one of the strongest races at the highest level in the calendar.
Telescope was mightily impressive at the Royal meeting last month when running seven lengths clear of the Hardwicke Stakes field but what did he beat that day?
Hillstar, who last won 13 months ago. Perther’s Moon, who has never won beyond Listed level. Forgotten Voice, a former hurdler who last won in August at Group Three level.
Of his nine rivals only Joshua Tree was a seasoned Group One performer and Ed Dunlop’s charge has been in the wilderness since he won the Canadian International at Woodbine in October.
Quite simply, Telescope beat precisely nothing in the Hardwicke and somehow lines up against seasoned Group One winners as favourite.
He lines up against an Irish Derby winner in Trading Leather. Magician beat the The Fugue at the Breeders’ Cup in November and went down fighting against his old rival in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last month.
Mukhadram has run in six Group Ones and was slightly unlucky to not run better in two of those before he secured his maiden top-level win in the Eclipse earlier this month
And then there is a Taghrooda, a superstar in the making who has her perfect conditions and who receives 15lbs from Telescope, which according to ratings gives her about 3lbs to find. Who do you think is improving the quicker?
I appreciate Telescope is a very good horse, who has run two monster speed figures at Ascot and Leicester, but the King George is a different ball game, and I will not be backing what to me looks like the Emperor’s New Clothes when 17 of the last 20 winners had already won at least one Group One race.
Since Field Of Dream landed us a fine touch in the Royal Hunt Cup at a monster price, there has been nothing other than misery for me.
Estimate was hit the bar at 11-1 in the Ascot Gold Cup. Bilimbi was fourth in the Britannia Handicap for me at 11-1 and Bronze Angel filled the same spot at 16-1 in the Buckingham Palace. I got the winner of the Wokingham in Bacarrat, but had him in exactas with horses that certainly didn’t finish second.
The latest horse to run well for me without winning was Haxby at 12-1, although it is not even worth trying to pretend he was unlucky because Tiggy Wiggy was such an authoritative winner that she should be among the favourites for the Nunthorpe at York next month.
A revealing interview with Richard Hughes on Racing UK on Thursday showed why you should back her for the Knavesmire race.
Hughes was asked whether he thought Tiggy Wiggy would beat Sole Power, who he rode to victory in the King;s Stand Stakes, in receipt of the 26lbs she would get at York.
Hughes had little hesitation in nominating the filly, adding: “They’re about the same size.”
It is time to get that money back.
There was a marked bias towards the stands’ side at the Royal meeting in all of the big handicaps and that looks set to continue on Saturday.
Looking at the pace map put together by Proform, it is clear that most of the pace is housed on the stands’ side.
The in-form front-runner Majestic Moon is drawn 20, while prominent racers Brae Hill in 23 and Pacific Heights in 18 all point towards there being more pace on the stands’ side than the far side.
With that in mind it is very hard to get away from the hold-up horses Belgian Bill and Bronze Angel on the stands’ rail.
Having tipped and backed Bronze Angel for the Buckingham Palace Handicap at Royal Ascot you can imagine my horror when he sluiced in unbacked at 6-1 at York next time out.
He is still well treated on the form that resulted in his Cambridgeshire win and I can’t resist backing him this time.
Geoffrey Riddle's Saturday tips: