Hughie Morrison hopes Telecaster can become 2020 first string

By Jon Lees

Britain: Telecaster, who beat two of last season’s top three-year-olds Too Darn Hot and Japan in the Dante Stakes, will be back in the spring with the aim of fulfilling his trainer’s belief he can attain Group 1 honours in 2020.

The New Approach colt was supplemented for the Derby after he inflicted a first career defeat on Too Darn Hot, the champion two-year-old of 2018, at York last May but did not perform to expectations at Epsom, finishing last.

He was given one more start when running seventh of eight, beaten eight lengths, by Enable in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, while his Group 2 Dante form went on to being franked when Too Darn Hot won the Sussex Stakes and Japan, who was fourth in May, the Juddmonte International.

Telecaster’s trainer Hughie Morrison said: “He came back into training in the middle of November and we could have trained him for the autumn but there were so few suitable opportunities.

“He is a big horse and we did a hell of a lot with him at the beginning of the year. We erred on the side of caution and he went back to Meon Valley Stud and spent August to September there turned out.

“He’s come back looking like a bull and we are slowly bringing him back with the aim of running him in April.”

Morrison continued: “In any other jurisdiction the Dante would probably be a Group 1. I don’t care what anyone says, he beat the two best three-year-old colts in terms of Too Darn Hot and Japan. 

“I think it was a very fair test of a horse’s ability. He was right up there to be shot at and Too Darn Hot wasn’t good enough. You couldn’t say he didn’t stay a mile and a quarter. I know Japan was having a warm-up race but we beat him fair and square.

“He didn’t run badly in the Eclipse. He wasn’t beaten that far, but he needed that physical break. Hopefully he might grow up to be mentally more mature and relaxed and then we can ride him to get a mile and a half, but we will start at a mile and a quarter.

“The Gordon Richards Stakes, a Group 3 over a mile and a quarter at Sandown in April, would be a good starting point for him. Then we will work it out from there, but we will be aspiring to Group 1s.”

Telecaster will be Morrison’s main standard bearer on the Flat with 2018 Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo retired to stud, but he also has high hopes for three-year-olds Starcat, Kipps, both 2020 Derby entrants, and With Respect.

“I don’t often have first-time-out winners but With Respect won on debut at Newbury and as did Star Cat, who has a high Timeform rating, at Kempton,” he said. “Kipps  won on Saturday after Christmas. They might turn out to be handicappers, but they certainly are all right.”