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Teal turns to Moore in place of sidelined Fallon on Oxted

Roger Teal has been forced to find a new jockey for Oxted as his star sprinter bids for back-to-back victories in the Group Three Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.

Cieren Fallon is Oxted’s usual pilot, and scored the biggest win of his career so far on him when they landed the Group One July Cup last season.

The champion apprentice suffered a heavy weekend fall on the all-weather at Lingfield, though – and despite returning for one unplaced ride at Newmarket on Tuesday, he will not be available to partner Oxted on Thursday.

“We’ve had to change the jockey today – Cieren’s not feeling to great, so Ryan Moore rides him now,” said Teal.

“Hopefully they’ll get on together – I’m looking forward to running him.”

Oxted, ridden by Cieren Fallon, (left) winning the Darley July Cup Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse
Oxted (left), ridden by Cieren Fallon, winning the Darley July Cup at Newmarket (Edward Whitaker/PA)

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The five-year-old won the Abernant on his return last season, the second leg of a long-range hat-trick of successes which began with the 2019 Portland Handicap at Doncaster and culminated in the July Cup.

The Mayson gelding was then beaten just a length in the British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot and, on his only subsequent appearance, was hindered by a wide draw a trip when midfield in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint in Saudi Arabia.

Oxted was drawn in stall one when winning this race last season and has this time been dealt rather a different hand – widest of all in seven.

“It is a bit different to last year, but there are only seven runners,” said Teal.

“You can’t change it, and it’s not a disaster.

“He’ll love the good ground, so that won’t be a bother either. I’d love to have been drawn a bit lower, but that is what it is.

“He is well, we’re very happy with him – so fingers crossed for a big run.”

Leading the opposition is David O’Meara’s Summerghand, who returns to the turf after winning the All-Weather Sprint Championships Final at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Summerghand ridden by Adam Kirby riding (left) winning the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield
Summerghand and Adam Kirby (left) winning the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The seven-year-old, busy on synthetic surfaces since February and on the turf at Doncaster last month, has race fitness and a handy draw on his side.

“He’s in good form, he won on the finals day at Lingfield recently,” said O’Meara.

“He’s come out of the race well. He goes well at Newmarket and he’s won there in the past.

“He’s been running through the winter and he won recently, so he’s shown he’s in good form.

“I suppose if we were ever going to have a chance of beating the likes of Oxted, it might be on his first run of the season when we’ve got a few runs under our belt.”

The field of seven also features Karl Burke’s Exalted Angel, who finished just a head behind Summerghand at Lingfield, and the Andrew Balding-trained grey Shine So Bright.

Kevin Ryan is represented by Emaraaty Ana, second ahead of Summerghand in the Listed Cammidge Trophy on his seasonal return, with Henry Candy’s Jouska and John Ryan’s Marly also taking their chances.

Teal plotting route to July Cup defence for Oxted

Roger Teal is to prepare Oxted for a domestic campaign following his trip to Saudi Arabia.

The July Cup, which Oxted won last summer, will be ultimate objective for the five-year-old, possibly preceded by the Abernant Stakes which he won in 2020 on the way to Group One glory in a truncated season.

“We’ll just regroup, let him get over his journey and we’ll concentrate on our summer fixtures now,” said Teal.

“We’ll probably start off in the Abernant or the Group Two Duke of York. Those two are possible starters for us.

“Then we’ve got Ascot and obviously the July Cup as the main target again.”

Oxted tried his luck in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint, and while far from disgraced, he was ultimately out of the money in seventh place.

Teal felt Oxted was uncomfortable with the frantic early pace of the race having had to compete from a wide draw.

“It all happened a bit quick for him. He just never got to travel. Everything happened a million miles an hour and he was just taken out of his comfort zone a bit,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“The draw didn’t help. It forced us to go a bit more forward than we wanted. I don’t think I’d blame the surface. He moved well on the surface in the morning. I just think the style of dirt racing was probably a bit too fast and furious.”

Oxted must defy wide draw in Riyadh Sprint

Oxted has to overcome a wide draw as well handling a different surface in the Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint.

Trainer Roger Teal has been pleased the way his July Cup winner has worked on the dirt track in Riyadh, but admits a lower draw would have been preferable this weekend.

“He’s been happy on the dirt, and obviously we’ll find out more on Saturday,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“He’s training well on it, so we’re good to go, but he’s not got the best draw in the world.

“He’s been drawn 11. It will be a bit tougher out there, but we can’t do anything about it. We’ve just got to get on with it. Everything else is good.”

Hollie Doyle admits her mount Brad The Brief has something to find on form, but she expects Tom Dascombe’s four-year-old to put up a decent show.

“He won in France last time. He’s got a bit of improvement to be up to this, but I think he should run well,” she said.

Tilsit takes a shot at a mile and a quarter for the first time in the Neom Turf Cup, where he would be a poignant winner in the colours of the late Khalid Abdullah.

Tilsit steps up in trip for the Neom Turf Cup
Tilsit steps up in trip for the Neom Turf Cup (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Having had just the four starts over a mile, Charlie Hills’ four-year-old is unexposed.

“Not many horses can say they’ve won by 19 lengths, even over jumps!” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owners Juddmonte Farms.

“Obviously that Newcastle performance was striking, albeit in a weak race, but he followed that up by winning at Goodwood in a Group Three.

“He probably needed the race a little at Newmarket, but he still ran well in the Joel Stakes and wasn’t beaten very far. This race has always been in the back of our minds.

“It’s a little further than a mile, so that’s a little unknown, but the Prince’s family were keen for him to take a shot as he likes fast ground.

“He’s drawn on the outside, but over 10 furlongs I like to think that shouldn’t make too much difference.”

True Self is one of Hollie Doyle's rides in Riyadh
True Self is one of Hollie Doyle’s rides in Riyadh (Mike Egerton/PA)
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The Willie Mullins-trained True Self drops down in trip, but Doyle feels that could suit.

“She’s dropping down in trip, a bit of a globetrotter, but she ran well over further here last year – and I think the step down in trip will be a positive,” she said.

Soft Whisper takes on the colts in the Al Rahji Bank Saudi Derby, having romped to victory in the UAE 1000 Guineas.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor reports the filly to be in tremendous shape.

“She won the trial and the Guineas very easily, and this time will face the colts – but she came back great from her race, and I think we can get the best result again from her,” he said.

Saeed bin Suroor reports Soft Whisper to be in fine form ahead of the Saudi Derby
Saeed bin Suroor reports Soft Whisper to be in fine form for the Saudi Derby (Mike Egerton/PA)

“She will have to be handy in the race, and I think that will suit her better.

“The pace will be faster this time, and I think it’s an open race with some very good horses in there.”

Godolphin have a second string to their bow in Rebel’s Romance, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.

His trainer Charlie Appleby said: “Rebel’s Romance is a big, scopey horse and has quite a frame to fill – but he’s obviously shown some talent, which is nice to see, so let’s see how far we can get with him.

“This is a big step forward for him – Saeed’s filly was very impressive in the UAE Guineas and will get the fillies’ allowance.”

Trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam takes a punt with Albadri following his victory at Southwell.

Doyle was in the plate that day and continues the association.

“He won at Southwell, and I think he’s taken to the dirt really well – which is a good sign,” she said.

“Whether he’s good enough I’m not sure, but I’m sure he’ll run well.”

Charlie Fellowes reports the globetrotting Prince Of Arran to be on song for the Red Sea Turf Handicap.

Prince Of Arran's trainer Charlie Fellowes
Prince Of Arran’s trainer Charlie Fellowes (Simon Cooper/PA)

The Newmarket trainer said: “We’re delighted with the draw. I think if you’d given me free choice before the race of where I’d want to come out of, stall four would probably have been my first pick, so I couldn’t be happier with that.”

Red Verdon is another who enjoys travel and he has had the benefit of a pipe-opener two weeks ago. However, his trainer Ed Dunlop accepts this is a tough ask.

“He had a little break and then came back with a prep run at Lingfield,” he said.

“He hasn’t been away properly since Australia, when he was sadly unable to run in the Melbourne Cup, but he loves going abroad and won a Group Two in France last year.

Red Verdon represents Ed Dunlop in the Red Sea Turf Handicap
Red Verdon represents Ed Dunlop in the Red Sea Turf Handicap (Steve Davies/PA)

“I’m expecting him to come on from his Lingfield run, but I’m under no illusions – this is a very strong, competitive race.”

Andrew Balding was unable to get a prep race into Spanish Mission, but believes his runner has a lot going for him.

“He’s reasonably well-treated on the best of his form. Ideally we could have done with a prep race, but there was nothing suitable for him,” said Balding.

“He’s a talented stayer, and conditions should suit him.”

Mark Johnston is happy with Mildenberger following a brief scare on arrival.

The Middleham trainer said: “He had a temperature when he arrived, which was a bit of a concern, and he was unable to do any ridden work for the first few days.

“But he’s apparently been well throughout that time, eating well and bright and so on, (and) the temperature has come back down to normal.

“It’s a very competitive race, but I think he’s as good a chance as anybody. He comes here off a win, so I’m very hopeful.”

Appleby is double-handed with Space Blues and Glorious Journey in the STC 1351 Turf Sprint.

Trainer Charlie Appleby
Trainer Charlie Appleby (Simon Cooper/PA)

He said: “Space Blues went to Meydan last week for a racecourse gallop and has come forward for that gallop, which should hopefully put him spot on for the weekend.

“He comes into the race on the back of a good European campaign. It was great to see him get his Group One last year, and he was pretty faultless really.

“Glorious Journey has had a run at Meydan. He finished third in this race last year from an outside draw, and he has been his usual consistent self this campaign.

“He came out here and put up a sensible performance in the Al Fahidi. He has definitely come on for that run.”

Prince primed for latest globetrotting assignment in Riyadh

Prince Of Arran was reported to be “spot on” for the $2.5million Red Sea Turf Handicap after working on the track at Riyadh on Wednesday.

The eight-year-old, who has placed in the Melbourne Cup for the last three years, went six furlongs in the hands of Aled Beech ahead of Saturday’s engagement.

The jockey is looking after the horse while Fellowes remains at home in Newmarket due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“He started at the finishing line, cantered away for two furlongs and then picked it up for the final six,” said Fellowes.

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“Aled Beech, who is in Saudi Arabia with the horse and who went to Australia with him, just let him roll home the last two furlongs, just a nice stretch to get a blow into him, and he was very happy with him.

“Aled said Prince Of Arran had a nice blow walking home but cleared pretty quickly, which has really put him about spot on now for his race on Saturday. He’s taken the trip well, as you’d expect from a horse with as much travelling experience as he’s got.

“He’s been eating and drinking well and moving good, and his temperature has been pretty much spot-on since he landed. So it looks like everything so far has gone smoothly, which is great.”

Oxted warmed up for his run in the $1.5m Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint by going six furlongs on the dirt course.

The July Cup winner was partnered by trainer Roger Teal’s son, Harry, and appeared to take well to the surface.

“We just let him have a nice stretch forward this morning,” said the trainer.

“I thought he looked really good and Harry said he felt great on the surface. He came round the bend nicely – we kicked up a gear on the bend and he handled that all right.

“He went six (furlongs) and Harry built it up as he went along. He quickened into the bend and let him freewheel around the turn and then for the last furlong let him have a good stride out. We were very happy with that.”

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.

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“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.”

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.

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“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.”

Winter travels on Oxted’s agenda

Oxted may be going on his travels to either Hong Kong or Dubai for his next run after signing off his domestic season with an eye-catching run in defeat at Ascot.

Trainer Roger Teal has revealed his July Cup winner is a possible for the Group One Hong Kong Sprint in December – although he could give his stable star more time and wait for Dubai in March, when the Al Quoz Sprint would be the main objective.

“We’ve been invited possibly to Hong Kong, but I think we’re going to see what happens with him and maybe go to Dubai next year,” said Teal.

“We might go out there possibly for Super Saturday and World Cup night for the Al Quoz.

“It’s not definite, but to be fair to the horse we might concentrate on that. We’ll be guided by him over the next week or so.

“We’ve got next year to look forward. I don’t want to put too many miles on the clock. We’ve got an exciting year to look forward to next year.”

Teal was pleased with Oxted’s run on Saturday, losing by only a length when fifth to Glen Shiel in the Qipco British Champions Sprint on his first start since Newmarket in the summer.

However, he felt the four-year-old would have gone closer had the pace been stronger and the ground less testing.

The Lambourn trainer said: “He’s fine. He’s come out of the race well – no ill effects, so that’s good.

Trainer Roger Teal
Trainer Roger Teal (Hugh Routledge/PA)

“He was probably just a bit too keen early, and we paid the price late on. There was no pace early. Obviously a stronger pace would have helped us.

“On better ground he’d probably have kept on going. He handled the ground, but I think his stamina ran out over the stiff six.

“That ground blunted his speed a bit. The petrol gauge was going empty, because he was too keen early.

“He didn’t show himself up. He ran with credit, (and) I’m just pleased we’ve got a genuine Group One horse. He ran a stormer.”

Oxted set to take Champions Sprint test at Ascot

Oxted is set to take his chance in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

Connections have decided to bite the bullet and see if the July Cup winner can cope with the likely testing conditions.

While trainer Roger Teal is hoping the ground dries out from Wednesday morning’s official description of soft, heavy in places, he feels they should take the plunge.

Oxted (left) has not run since his Group One win in July
Oxted (left) has not run since his Group One win in July (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Oxted showed his well-being in his final piece of work to rubber-stamp his place in the six-furlong Group One and run for the first time since he won the July Cup at Newmarket.

“He did his final blow on Tuesday on the grass and went really nicely, so we’re happy with him going into Saturday. It’s all systems go,” said the Lambourn handler.

“The plan is to run. We’re going to take our chance. Obviously, we’ve got to find out if he’ll go on the softer conditions. We confirmed to run, so we might as well take our chance now.”

He went on: “The sun’s shining this morning. Hopefully it will stay that way for the next three days and tighten the ground up a bit and then the tighter the ground gets, the better the chance we have.”

“You’ve got to find these things out. There’s no point in keep ducking the issue. He’s bred to go on it. His mum went on it and his dad went on it, so on his pedigree he’s got a good chance of handling it now he’s stronger.

“You can’t guarantee it, but I think we’re in better shape now to find out one way or the other.”

Teal on weather watch for Oxted ahead of Ascot

Oxted will only run in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot next month if conditions are suitable.

Trainer Roger Teal reports his July Cup winner to be back in rude health after being forced to miss the Sprint Cup at Haydock.

Preparations are going swimmingly now ahead of the Group One sprint over six furlongs – but Teal would rather put him away for the season rather than risk the proven fast-ground performer on going that would compromise his chance.

“He’s back in full work and we’re going quietly away with him towards Ascot, all being well,” said Teal.

“Obviously we’ll monitor the ground situation. If this weather could last for another month we’d be highly delighted, but it’s unlikely to happen.

“We’ll have to make a decision whether we go there or not or wait until next year or whatever. He’s only a four-year-old.

“We wanted to go to Haydock, but things didn’t go right. We don’t want to go to Champions Day if we’re not sure about conditions.

“We gave him a quite week. We didn’t stop working with him. He just went on hacks and we freshened him up. He’s been doing some healthy exercise.

“He’s cantering away now and looks absolutely superb. We’re happy with the way he looks.”