Time on Stoute’s side for decision over St Leger

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SIR Michael Stoute will play for time before deciding whether Telescope – co-owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson – lines up in the Ladbrokes St Leger.

The three-year-old justified the trainer’s faith by winning the Neptune Investment Great Voltigeur Stakes in comfortable style and is the sponsors’ new 3-1 favourite for the Doncaster Classic if he runs.

A 400th win for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing which owns the horse, Stoute did hint that Telescope could bypass Doncaster in favour of a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – Europe’s blue riband race.

“He’s a big, scopey horse – let’s hope he’ll be a better four-year-old,” said Stoute, who appeared more animated by the latest Test score between England and Australia.

“Next stop is Newmarket, back to Freemason Lodge, so there’ll be plenty of time to think about it (the Leger).”

The Galileo colt has been a frustrating horse. He had to miss the Epsom Derby after a training setback, but he won on his reappearance by 24 lengths.

However, his second place finish in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock just 11 days ago prompted some to question the hype, and whether it was justified.

His ecstatic owners did not lose their faith, not least 
Sir Alex who missed yesterday’s race as he recovers from hip surgery.

However, Sir Alex was immediately sending text messages, and voicemail messages, to Highclere managing director Harry Herbert as he stonewalled inevitable questions about the St Leger – and whether the owners will stump up a supplementary entry fee for the Doncaster race.

“I know it sounds boring, but nothing is ruled out,” said Herbert. “There are races like the Arc, and I’m sure we’ll just wait for the dust to settle and talk to Sir Michael.”

Although Aidan O’Brien’s lightly-raced Foundry closed to within a length-and-a-quarter, Telescope never looked like being caught – though the victory was far from spectacular. Ann Duffield’s Willie The Whipper was unplaced.

As for winning jockey Ryan Moore, he could not understand the furore after the Haydock defeat.

“He’s won the Voltigeur on his fifth start and has never been out the first two – he’s not done a great deal wrong in his life,” he said.