08/18/2014 1:47PM

Telescope eyes BC Turf berth in Juddmonte International


The Group 1 Juddmonte International on Wednesday at York in England is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, offering the winner an automatic berth in the big race this November while waiving entry fees and covering travel expenses. And unlike some of the international races in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the Juddmonte International really could have BC Turf implications.

The connections of Telescope, a 4-year-old Michael Stoute-trained colt, have mentioned the BC Turf as a serious year-end goal, but he’ll face a tall task Wednesday. The Juddmonte, run over one mile, two furlongs, and 88 yards, also includes the 2014 English Derby winner, Australia, who is odds-on to beat older horses in his first try Wednesday. Also in the field are Mukhadram, the winner of the Group 1 Eclipse this summer, and The Grey Gatsby, who sprang a June surprise in winning the French Derby.

Telescope, a son of Galileo, has been highly regarded for some time but only made his Group 1 debut last month, when he was favored to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Telescope ran well but proved no match for the star filly Taghrooda, who beat Telescope three lengths with help from a significant age- and sex-related break in the weights.

Telescope, in fact, finished just a nose in front of Mukhadram in the King George, a race from which sixth-place Magician emerged to finish second as the favorite Saturday in the Arlington Million. Mukhadram, at 5 the elder statesman of the Juddmonte, has the qualifications to post an upset Wednesday, and he is 1 for 1 on the course, having taken the Group 2 York Stakes last summer.

The Juddmonte will help determine the quality of Australia, who started his year with a third-place finish in the English 2000 Guineas before convincingly capturing the English and Irish derbies. The Irish Derby, Australia’s most recent start, came June 28, and trainer Aidan O’Brien has cautioned that Australia is a heavier, less-fit animal than when he went out for a freshening earlier this summer. O’Brien’s second 3-year-old, Kingfisher, is said to be in the race on his merits but could wind up making the pace.

The going at York is expected to be good Wednesday, and post time for the Juddmonte, the fourth race on the card, is 10:40 a.m. Eastern.