Roger Teal is hoping his hand will heal in time to pop a few corks this summer – and get out of the doghouse with his wife – after suffering an accident over Christmas.
“I’m just off to the doctors to get the stitches out of my hand. On Christmas Day, I fell onto a glass candle and made a bit of a mess of my hand,” explained Teal.
“It is driving me mad – and my wife, Sue. I can’t open a bottle of wine, you see.
“I just wave a bandage at her… but I can’t tell you what she said – you can imagine!”
The Lambourn-based Teals hope to put their 2021 injury woes behind them over the next few months, with stable star Oxted back in training after suffering a bone chip problem that prematurely curtailed his season.
After landing the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, Oxted was a close-up third in defence of his July Cup title at Newmarket.
Of the six-year-old son of Mayson, Teal said: “Oxted is back off his holidays and doing a little light exercise at the moment, just tipping away quietly and we will see how he goes over the next couple of months and make a plan.
“He had a bone chip removed after the July Cup. We did a bit more investigating because he hung across the track.
“We knew it was there – it was a floating chip – but we had always monitored it and it has never really been too much of a problem, but when he hung across the track at Newmarket, we had an MRI scan because the X-rays weren’t really showing where it was, and it had moved between the joint, so it was time to take it out.
“He has just had a long recovery – as much time as you can give him – and touch wood, that will give him every chance to have a full recovery.
“He looks amazing. He has come back and he looks like a bull. We are thrilled with the way he looks.
“Obviously his main target will be the July Cup and the King’s Stand again, probably. The Abernant at Newmarket or the Duke Of York that we ran in last year, will be his starting point. It will be either one of those two, I should think.”
Teal appears to have an embarrassment of sprinting riches as he looks ahead to the new Flat season, with Oxted’s four-year-old full-brother, Chipstead, ending the season with three successive victories at Bath.
“Chipstead came good at the back end of last season and the penny finally dropped,” said Teal.
“He had a lot of ability, but his brain didn’t really match his ability.
“But once the penny dropped, he got the hang of it and he came forward and finished the season on a high, winning three in a row, including the Bath Series Final. I went to see him the other day and he looks brilliant as well.”
The 54-year-old expects a big season with four-year-old Dark Angel gelding Whenthedealinsdone, who signed off a progressive three-year-old campaign when beaten two lengths in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster.
Teal added: “We are very excited about him. He had a good season, winning at Glorious Goodwood. It was just unfortunate that the ground went against him in the Portland, but I’m very excited by him.
“Hopefully, he will progress into a Pattern horse this year. He is on a rating of 96 at the moment.
“He was a big three-year-old, probably too big for his own good, size-wise.
“He has just come back from Charlie Vigors’ Hillwood Stud and he looks an absolute picture. He was always a big, rotund horse, but he has filled his frame now – and he and Oxted look like two peas in a pod.”
Top stayer Ocean Wind, who pushed triple Gold Cup hero Stradivarius close in Ascot’s Sagaro Stakes at the end of April, has not been out since finishing third as a hot favourite in the Group Three Henry II Stakes at Sandown in May.
Teal said: “Ocean Wind has had a nice long break and is due to come in shortly.
“He is doing some light prep work. I’m not sure what we are going to aim at yet. We will wait until the programme book comes out and then we will start making a plan.”
One thing is for sure, Champagne corks look set to pop in the Teal household at some point this summer.
“But right now I’d just settle for being able to open a bottle of wine – just to keep the wife happy,” Teal laughed.