July Cup hero Oxted set for dirt assignment in Saudi Arabia

Oxted is likely to run in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint rather then the 1351 Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia next month.

Trainer Roger Teal feels the six-furlong trip will suit his July Cup winner more than the slightly longer distance of the turf race.

“At the moment we are favouring the dirt really because it’s six furlongs,” said Teal

“Obviously, it’s an unknown surface for us but because it’s a flat six furlongs I think that is where we are going to go.

“He’s a good-moving horse. He likes the top of the ground and handles all sorts of ground.

“He trains on an all-weather surface every day, so I’m just hoping. The reports are very good about the dirt track in Saudi. That gives me confidence. There’s not too much kickback apparently.

“As long as there wasn’t going to be tons of kickback, I think we’re going to be happy to run him on it.”

Teal was happy to take up the Saudi invitation as the timing of the meeting (February 20) fits in nicely with long-term plans for his stable star.

“The timing of the race was good for us. It was enough time to give him a break and then prepare him for the season ahead. We can go to Saudi, come back, maybe go to Dubai for World Cup night if things go to plan,” the Lambourn trainer told a Saudi Cup press conference.

“We can then prepare for Ascot and another go at the July Cup. The timing is just right.

Cieren Fallon returns victorious aboard Oxted
Cieren Fallon returns victorious aboard Oxted (Hugh Routledge/PA)

“We’ll see how he travels to Saudi first because he’s never travelled before. We’ll be a little bit wiser after the event.

“He’s pretty straightforward and takes things in his stride, but you don’t know until you do it. He should be fine.”

Teal is confident Oxted’s regular rider Cieren Fallon will be on board at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack.

“He definitely gets on so well with the horse. Hopefully when Cieren’s available he can ride him whenever,” he said.

“This horse has got good gate speed. He travels strong. He’s got early pace so I think the pace of the race will suit him fine.

“The pace beat us at Ascot (on Champions Day) last year. There wasn’t enough pace for him.”

Roger Teal with Oxted and son Harry at Newmarket
Roger Teal with Oxted and son Harry at Newmarket (Hugh Routledge/PA)

Teal’s son Harry will escort Oxted to Saudi Arabia, but the trainer is hoping he will be there too, if Covid-19 regulations allow.

“Harry will go with him out there,” he added.

“You can’t make any firm plans yet, but we’d like to be there if we can.

“He’s pretty much on track. He’s been stepping up weekly. We’re very happy. We’ll just keep tipping away with what we’re doing and get him there in good shape.

“If we’re allowed to I’m looking to getting him to Wolverhampton just to have one good sprint round the turn because he’s never run round a bend. That’s another thing we’ve got to find out about him.

“He’s in good shape. I’m very happy with him. He had a short break after Ascot. He had a month away and came back looking tremendous. He’s really blossomed through the winter.”

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