Sir Michael Stoute charges head betting for both Derby and Oaks
The last couple of years have been quiet ones at Freemason Lodge Stables, with Sea Moon’s Hardwicke Stakes win the sole domestic big-race victory for incumbent training legend Sir Michael Stoute during that period. That could all be set to change, with the Barbados-born handler’s Telescope and Liber Nauticus 5/1 and 6/1 favourites for the Derby and the Oaks respectively.
Stoute has savoured success in both races in the past winning the fillies classic twice and the Derby on no less than five occasions, including three since the turn of millennium courtesy of Kris Kin, North Light and Workforce.
Telescope has clearly been the subject of great expectations from the his youngest days, with Highclere Throroughbreds making him the most expensive yearling the company had ever purchased. A strong piece of work on the Newmarket gallops in early April had connections rhapsodising, with Harry Herbert who oversees the Highclere operation describing him as an “an amazing looking horse”.
Defeated on his debut as a two-year-old, thanks in no small part to his jockey dropping the whip with 50 yards of racing to run, he made amends in comfortable fashion next time out and is expected to resume his upward trajectory in a conditions race over a mile at Sandon on the 26th of April.
Sir Michael’s long-time front-runner in the Oaks betting, Liber Nauticus caught the eye with a debut victory for the yard at Goodwood last September. Given the yard sent out just eight winners from 63 attempts in juvenile maidens last term this was an impressive effort.
Despite running very green for much of the race the filly quickened away to win well from next time out winners Heading North and Great Timing and having the class and ability to cope with the undulations of the picturesque Sussex track despite her inexperience can only bode well for a future assault on the Oaks over Epsom’s roller-coaster undulations.
Stoute can be backed for Trainers Championship glory at 8/1 with Coral, as he goes in search of the eleventh such crown of his career and the first since 2009.