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Setback scuppers Ocean Wind’s Goodwood Cup bid

A setback has ruled Ocean Wind of next week’s Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

The five-year-old did not appear in the six-day confirmations for the Group One showpiece over two miles on the opening day of the Goodwood Festival.

Trainer Roger Teal had been looking forward to taking on Stradivarius again on Tuesday, after Ocean Wind ran John Gosden’s brilliant stayer to a length in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April.

But he said: “He’s had a bit of a setback, so he’s going to miss Goodwood.

“We are just monitoring him and checking him, and (will) then see what we do for the rest of the season.

“It’s not very serious, but we just need to give him a bit of time. It’s not bad, but we just have to monitor the situation at the moment.

“It’s very disappointing – we’ve come so close.”

Teal points Ocean Wind towards Goodwood

Ocean Wind is set to take on top stayers Stradivarius and Subjectivist in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup.

The five-year-old has pleased trainer Roger Teal after being freshened up since the Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

Ocean Wind disappointed connections there a month ago as a distant third to Lismore, despite starting as odds-on favourite, and he has been given plenty of time to recover.

The Teofilo entire had shown his ability on his previous start when beaten only a length by Stradivarius in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.

It had been the plan to go for the Gold Cup – and although his poor Sandown effort put paid to that, Teal reports Ocean Wind back in fine shape at home.

The Lambourn trainer said: “He’s good – he’s going to go to Goodwood.

“We’ve jut freshened him up after a hard race at Sandown. That (soft) ground just caught him out that day.

“We missed Ascot, because there was no point going there on the back of that.

“We’re going to keep him nice and fresh and go to Goodwood.”

Teal knows it will be a tough assignment taking on Stradivarius, winner of the Goodwood Cup for the last four years, and Gold Cup winner Subjectivist – but he is ready to let Ocean Wind take his chance.

“You can’t leave them in their stables – he’s got there on merit,” he said.

“You can’t hide – you’ve got to take them on and take your medicine.”

“Fair play to Subjectivist – I know Stradivarius got into a bit of bother, but I’m not sure he’d have beaten him anyway.

“The (Mark) Johnston horse was very impressive.”

Ocean Wind will miss Gold Cup

Roger Teal has decided against a bid for Gold Cup glory at Royal Ascot next week with stable star Ocean Wind.

The five-year-old established himself as a legitimate contender for the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece when pushing triple Gold Cup hero Stradivarius close in Ascot’s Sagaro Stakes at the end of April.

On the strength of that form, Ocean Wind was a hot favourite to claim Group Three honours in last month’s Henry II Stakes at Sandown, but finished a well-beaten third behind Henry de Bromhead’s Irish raider Lismore.

Teal does not feel comfortable about the prospect of running in the Gold Cup following such a below-par performance and will instead give his charge time to recover before a likely outing in the Goodwood Cup later in the summer.

“He underperformed at Sandown, so we want to freshen him up and we’ll put him away for Goodwood,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“You couldn’t go to Ascot and take Stradivarius on off the back of that run. His bloods were wrong afterwards, and I think that was probably because of the stress of the race – it was on very testing, gluey ground.

“He didn’t look happy from an early stage of the race. He’s gone on soft ground, but it was probably too tacky for him on the day.

“I’ve had a chat with the owner, and we think (missing Ascot) is the best thing to do.”

Roger Teal (left) with Oxted after winning the July Cup
Roger Teal (left) with Oxted after winning the July Cup (Hugh Routledge/PA)

In Ocean Wind’s absence, top-class sprinter Oxted will be Teal’s only runner at this year’s Royal meeting.

Last season’s July Cup hero is set to drop to five furlongs for the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday.

Teal added: “Oxted is in good form, so we’ve still got one to go there, which is nice.

“Ocean Wind was going to be number two, and we were hoping to run Whenthedealinsdone in the Commonwealth Cup – but he was too randy at Newbury last time, so he’s had a little (gelding) operation! He was just doing his racing in the paddock, thinking of other things.

“Oxted is a good bullet to fire. We’ll have to make sure it’s nice and shiny for next week!”

Ocean Wind seeking to further Gold Cup ambitions at Sandown

Ocean Wind is out to cement his Gold Cup claims with victory in the Coral Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

The five-year-old has filled the runner-up spot on each of his three starts so far this year, most recently pushing triple Gold Cup hero Stradivarius close in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month.

Trainer Roger Teal hopes his star stayer can get back on the winning trail in Thursday’s two-mile Grade Three – before returning to Ascot for another crack at Stradivarius at next month’s Royal meeting.

“You can’t take anything for granted, because there’s some high quality-animals up against him, but he ran very well at Ascot and hopefully he can build on that,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“Hopefully the ground dries up a bit, although he’s not ground dependent to be fair – he races on most things, God bless him.

“We’ll see what happens. Hopefully he can do himself justice, and then we’ll go on to Ascot.”

Ocean Wind’s biggest threat appears to be the Mark Johnston-trained Nayef Road, who aims to bounce back from a rare disappointing display in the Yorkshire Cup a fortnight ago.

Nayef Road winning last year's Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle
Nayef Road winning last year’s Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle (Tony Knapton/PA)

Rainbow Dreamer (Alan King), Ranch Hand (Andrew Balding) and Irish raider Lismore (Henry de Bromhead) complete the line-up.

Eight previous winners contest the Listed Coral ‘Beaten By A Length’ National Stakes.

Bryan Smart’s Bond Chairman, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Chipotle and Choux from David Evans’ yard all put their unbeaten records on the line, while George Boughey’s Navello bids for a fourth victory from five starts.

Boughey said: “He’s been training really well and has got a good draw in stall four.

“I couldn’t really fault him, to be fair. This looked the natural place to go from winning the Lily Agnes at Chester, when the ground was pretty soft. I wouldn’t be worried with any ground, to be fair.

“He should go there with a favourite’s chance and hopefully he’ll take all the beating.

“Hopefully this is a stepping-stone before Royal Ascot.”

Teal relishing Stradivarius rematch at Ascot with Ocean Wind

Ocean Wind is on course for a rematch with Stradivarius in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot following his excellent effort in the Sagaro Stakes.

Roger Teal’s five-year-old got within a length of the triple Gold Cup hero in the Group Three contest over two miles at Ascot last month.

The Berkshire trainer feels the extra half-mile of the stayers’ championship could make Ocean Wind even more of a threat to Stradivarius.

“He’s come out of the race brilliantly. We’re looking forward to going back to Ascot with him and having a second crack at Stradivarius. It will be a good day if we can get there in one piece,” said Teal.

“I think the extra distance will help us a bit more. Stradivarius is Stradivarius, but you’ve got to take him on. Now is the time to take him on as our horse has proved himself at that level. We’re very excited by him.

“He just doesn’t know how to disappoint and he never stops surprising you.”

Teal eager to take Gold Cup test with Ocean Wind

Roger Teal is keen to have another crack at Stradivarius with Ocean Wind after getting within a length of the great stayer in the Sagaro Stakes.

The pair will meet again in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next month, with Teal weighing up whether or not Ocean Wind will run in Sandown’s Henry II Stakes first.

Given the Sagaro Stakes was only the five-year-old’s seventh run on the Flat, Teal believes his charge is still improving – especially as the form of his first run of the season at Nottingham was also given a hefty boost at the weekend.

“We were very pleased with him at Ascot, it was very encouraging and he just doesn’t know how to disappoint,” said Teal.

“The only time he is ever run over further than two miles was when he won the Cesarewitch Trial easily, so the extra distance in the Gold Cup will definitely suit him.

“It was pleasing to see the winner from Nottingham (Sir Ron Priestley) come out and win so well at Newmarket as well – he looks a very good horse. It just goes to show Nottingham was a proper race.

“The Ascot form looks rock solid. Obviously everyone knows Stradivarius, but the third had won the race last year on the all-weather and the three of them were a long way clear.

“Stradivarius did pinch us up slightly, which made us check our run and come round. I’m not saying we’d have beaten him, but we might have finished closer.

“We’re definitely looking forward to taking him on again anyway, we’ve had the practice run and now we’ll have a real crack at him!

“Stradivarius is Stradivarius, we’re under no illusions how good he is, but I do think going up in trip will suit us and it was encouraging to run him to a length. My fellow is still learning his trade, but we’re getting there.

“There is a possibility of him going to Sandown before Ascot, but he’ll tell us if he needs to go.”

Oxted in line for Saudi adventure

Roger Teal is considering giving July Cup hero Oxted a first start on dirt on his return to action next year in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint in Saudi Arabia.

The $1.5million six-furlong contest is one of two races the Lambourn handler is considering for the Mayson gelding at the Saudi Cup meeting on February 20 along with the 1351 Turf Sprint over slightly further.

Although the four year-old, who provided Teal with his first Group One success in the summer feature at Newmarket, has yet to race on anything else but turf, Teal believes he would have no problems switching to a dirt surface.

Teal said: “The obvious one for us would be the Turf Sprint which is run over about six and three-quarter furlongs. I suppose his ideal trip would be six, but he has won over seven in the past so it shouldn’t be a problem.

“We will also have a look at the Riyadh Dirt Sprint too which is run over six as we know he goes so well over that distance.

“I’ve heard really good things about the quality of the dirt surface – I spoke to James Doyle who was very complimentary about it.

“Also, in the back of my mind I know that he is trained on the all-weather at home and he is a speedy horse that normally holds a prominent position, so the kick-back should be less of a concern.”

Roger Teal believes a trip to Saudi Arabia fits in well for July Cup winner Oxted (Hugh Routledge/PA)
Roger Teal believes a trip to Saudi Arabia fits in well for July Cup winner Oxted (Hugh Routledge/PA)

Teal reports Oxted to be in good shape, having given him a short break since finishing fifth in the British Champions Sprint on his final start last season.

He added: “He came back in on Monday (last week) after a short break just to freshen him up a bit. I guess it was about four weeks or so to give him some time to chill out after a busy season.

“He was out in the field during the day and came back in at night. It seems to have done him the world of good and we now start our preparations for a potential trip to Riyadh in February.

“We will wind him up slowly and gradually step up his exercise routine.”

An outing in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint on Sunday had been mooted as a possibility for Oxted, but Teal felt the timing was not quite right.

He said: “The Saudi Cup meeting sits perfectly in the calendar for him as we build towards another season in the UK.

“We had the option of going to Hong Kong, but that meeting just came too late in the season for us.

“Targeting the Saudi Cup sprints allowed us to give the horse a break then bring him back. We’d love to go there and take our chance.”

Ocean Wind, seen winning at Lingfield, could potentially join stablemate Oxted in Saudi Arabia (Alan Crowhurst/PA)
Ocean Wind, seen winning at Lingfield, could potentially join stablemate Oxted in Saudi Arabia (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Teal could also be represented at the meeting by progressive stayer Ocean Wind, after earmarking the Long Distance Turf Handicap as a target.

A Listed bumper winner, the son of Teofilo has not looked back since suffering switching to the Flat, rattling up a hat-trick of wins culminating in victory at Doncaster in October.

Teal said: “I’m not sure he will be rated quite high enough to get in, but I’d love to take Ocean Wind to Riyadh too for the Long Distance Turf Handicap.

“He came back in last week and has only been trotting since. He’s an exciting prospect who has won his last three and still seems to be improving.

“The trip and conditions look ideal and I know his owners are keen to give it a go. Fingers crossed we can get him into the race.”

Ocean Wind delights Roger Teal with Doncaster success

Ocean Wind put up a strong staying performance when defying the steadier of 10st in the vertem.co.uk Handicap at Doncaster.

Roger Teal looks to have an exciting stayer on his hands after the lightly-raced four-year-old gave 21lb and 14lb to Opera Gift and Hiroshima respectively.

Formerly a smart bumper performer, Ocean Wind was denied the chance to go for the Cesarewitch despite winning the official trial at Newmarket as he had only run twice under Flat rules when the weights came out.

This was his first race since and he showed he would have been a player in the two-and-a-quarter-mile marathon after outstaying and outbattling two persistent challengers.

Getting on top in the closing stages after a prolonged three-way fight, Ocean Wind (13-8) got the verdict by half a length and the same in the hands of Jack Mitchell.

“God bless him. He just knows how to please – he’s just a little superstar. If I had a few more like him I’d be delighted,” said Teal.

“He just keeps on improving. It was a good performance giving all that weight to Andrew Balding’s horse (Opera Gift).”

Ocean Wind, who was sixth in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March, has won his last three of four starts on the Flat and is set to be aimed high in 2021.

“Obviously I’ll talk to the owner, but we’re at the end of the season here so we’ll probably focus on next year,” said Teal.

“He could go up into Pattern company next year.

“He’s a stayer on the up, which is exciting to have.”

Silvestre de Sousa and Keith Dalgleish teamed up to score with Aberama Gold in the Vertem Investing In The Future Handicap before going on to have their own doubles.

De Sousa made the most of what looked an easy lead on the only three-year-old in the six-furlong dash.

The former champion managed to grab the stands rail at the business end, which helped Aberama Gold (9-1) hang on by a neck from King’s Lynn and register his first success since the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York last October.

De Sousa doubled up with another all-the-way win, on Kaleidoscopic (17-2) for trainer Mick Channon.

Jockey Silvestre De Sousa was in double-winning form at Doncaster
Jockey Silvestre De Sousa was in double-winning form at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Shane Gray steered the game Heights Of Abraham to a length-and-a-quarter verdict over Valorant to initiate Dalgleish’s brace in the Vertem Leading The Field Nursery Handicap.

The Roger Varian-trained El Drama (10-11 favourite) earned a quote of 25-1 from Betway for the Qipco 2000 Guineas when making a pleasing racecourse debut to take the British EBF Maiden Stakes by half a length from Colonel Faulkner.

Teal confirms Cesarewitch blow as he seeks new course for Ocean Wind

Roger Teal must draw up a new plan for Ocean Wind after learning his Cesarewitch Trial winner will not be allowed to run in the showpiece handicap itself over the same course and distance next month.

Sixth in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March, the Teofilo colt finished third on his Flat debut at Lingfield in early August before returning to the Surrey track – switching from the all-weather to turf – to go a couple of places better three weeks later.

Ocean Wind was a hot favourite for his latest test at Newmarket – and following a runaway success on Saturday, several bookmakers slashed his odds and made him ante-post market leader for the Cesarewitch on October 10.

However, the British Horseracing Authority has since confirmed he is not eligible for the marathon handicap because he had not run three times on the Flat before the weights were released last week.

Teal said: “There’s no way they’re going to allow us in, unfortunately. They’re saying he had to have three runs (prior to the weights being released), even though he was given a handicap mark after his first two runs.

“He was given a handicap mark on the day the entry closed. If they’d flagged it up to me that he needed another run, we possibly could have got one into him, but no one notified us that he was a non-qualifier.

“Normally when you have a non-qualifier they ring you and tell you, but there’s been a breakdown in communication. I think it’s slipped through and was only picked up later on, which is annoying for me and the owners and everyone involved.

“I guess the rules are the rules. He won the trial so impressively, and it looked like he would have had a hell of a chance in the big race, but there’s nothing we can do, so we’ve just got to take our medicine.

“It’s just a blip really. He’s only a young horse and an exciting horse to go forward with, that’s for sure.”

With plans therefore thrown into disarray, the Lambourn-based trainer is unsure when and where Ocean Wind will make his next competitive appearance, but it seems unlikely he will return to the National Hunt sphere for a jumping career.

Teal added: “There’s a couple of options. I wanted to see what his handicap mark was today (Tuesday), and he’s rated 96.

“I’ll just have to have a look what’s in the programme book for him now. The trouble is there’s very few opportunities over a longer distance, so he might have to step back to a mile and a half. Ideally he wants a mile and six (furlongs) to two miles.

“He obviously started off in bumpers, but he’s still a colt and not very big, which is why we wanted to go down the Flat route to see how he coped with that – and obviously he’s coped well.

“The owner isn’t a massive jumping fan, and now he’s set his stall out on the Flat and looks like he’s going to be a high-quality stayer.

“I’m not sure what’s happening with the All-Weather Championships going forward, but you’ve got the Marathon if that all goes ahead, so we could look at that.

“Plans are a bit up in the air at the moment. It’s upsetting for everyone that he can’t run in the Cesarewitch, but it is what it is – and we’ll just have to brush ourselves off and get on with it.”