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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.”

Prince Of Arran ready for his Saudi warm-up at Kempton

Prince Of Arran will warm up for his international mission in Saudi Arabia later this month by contesting the Unibet Conditions Stakes at Kempton.

Charlie Fellowes’ globe-trotting stable star was last seen finishing third in the Melbourne Cup in November – the third time he has been placed in the Flemington showpiece, having been third in 2018 and second in 2019.

Prince Of Arran will soon be on his travels again, with the Turf Handicap on the Saudi Cup undercard next on his agenda, but he will first attempt to bag a fourth victory at Kempton on Saturday evening.

Fellowes said: “Saudi Arabia is obviously the number one goal, and he goes there in two weeks’ time, but this looks like a good place for him to have a warm-up.

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“He’s fit and ready to rock and roll. He will improve for the race, but he loves Kempton – and this race suits perfectly.

“I’m surprised I’ve never run him over two miles at Kempton before – it’s probably his optimum trip, around his favourite track.

“It will be interesting to see how he gets on. Rainbow Dreamer is a nice horse for us to have in the race, because he’ll make us work and might even beat us.

“We need to go and have a nice run to bring him on fitness-wise ahead of Saudi.”

Alan King’s Rainbow Dreamer is bidding for back-to-back victories in this All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier – and may have a fitness edge, following recent placed efforts at Newcastle and Wolverhampton.

King also runs Scarlet Dragon, while Roger Teal is excited to saddle Ocean Wind – who has won three of his four starts on the Flat and makes his first appearance since scoring at Doncaster in October.

“Ocean Wind is as ready as we can get him at home, although I suspect he will come on a bit for the run – win, lose or draw,” said Teal.

“He surprises us nearly every time he goes to the track, and we don’t know where the ceiling is for him yet.

“If he was to win at the weekend, we would very much consider the Marathon race on All-Weather Championships Finals Day (at Lingfield), because I think he has quite a few strings to his bow.

“Initially, we were thinking of taking him to Saudi Arabia, but he did not make the cut.”

Richard Fahey’s Furzig completes the field.

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.”

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.

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“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.

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 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.

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“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.”

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.”

Stat of the Day, 2nd September 2020

Tuesday's pick was...

7.45 Hamilton : Kayewhykelly @ 5/2 BOG WON at 6/4 (Led to post and taken down early, tracked leaders, effort when not clear run 2f out, switched left over 1f out, quickened to lead inside final furlong, ran on to win by half a length)

Wednesday's pick runs in the...

5.00 Wolverhampton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Normally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.30am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

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Who?

Swiss Pride @ 11/2 BOG

...in an 11-runner, Class 5, A/W Handicap for 3yo+ over 7f on Tapeta worth £3,881 to the winner...

Why?...

We start, as is often the case, with the racecard...

Jockey James Doyle is in excellent form right now, as seen above and also has a 50% strike rate here at Wolverhampton (18 from 36) since the start of 2018, including 5 wins from 8 over this 7f course and distance.

He comes here for the first time since the 7th December to ride a 4 yr old gelding who was only beaten by a head last time out at Chelmsford when finishing strongly over 6f, so the extra distance allied to James' talents might just make all the difference today for a horse that already has a win and a place from his two previous efforts on this track and is three from ten at Class 5.

More generally, since 2015, Roger Teal's handicappers returning within two weeks of a top three finish where they either won or were beaten by two lengths or less are 11 from 41 (26.8% SR) for 52.92pts (+129.1% ROI), including of relevance today...

  • 11/30 (36.7%) for 63.92pts (+213.1%) in fields of 6-11 runners
  • 9/24 (37.5%) for 45.29pts (+188.7%) in the second half of the year
  • 9/23 (39.1%) for 49.03pts (+213.2%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • 7/21 (33.3%) for 37.62pts (+179.2%) were beaten by a head to two lengths
  • 6/20 (30%) for 27.62pts (+138.1%) over trips of a mile or shorter
  • 6/13 (46.2%) for 51.42pts (+395.5%) stepping up in trip by 1-2 furlongs
  • and 5 from 17 (29.4%) for 33.04pts (+194.4%) at Class 5...

...whilst in 6-11 runner contests worth less than £4k in the second half of the year, they are 7 from 12 (58.3% SR) for 35.4pts (+295% ROI) at an A/E of some 2.98...

...pointing towards... a 1pt win bet on Swiss Pride @ 11/2 BOG or bigger in places as was available at 8.10am Wednesday, but as always please check your own BOG status (*some firms are not BOG until later in the morning)To see a small sample of odds offered on this race...

...click here for the betting on the 5.00 Wolverhampton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Monday Musings: No More Lockdown Barnett!

As one of the world’s leading football agents, Jonathan Barnett, with his business partner David Manasseh, through their Stellar Group, heads up probably the biggest “stable” of footballers in the world, writes Tony Stafford. Always a racing fan, Barnett has lately been making tentative moves into racehorse ownership but for much of this year he would have been excused for thinking he might never have another runner.

Injuries have either delayed or ended the careers of three of his hopefuls, one with Wesley Ward being a particular disappointment.

Over the winter, Eden Gardens, owned in partnership with Manesseh’s father Maurice, and trained by Simon Crisford, did at least have a couple of all-weather runs without much luck. All his horses are partnerships, usually with his share carrying the name of his son James, who also works in the family business.

Like all owners Barnett’s aim is to win a Group race one day and failing that to have the all-important “Saturday horse”. Well he might not yet have achieved the former part of his wish-list, but on Saturday, as was readily trailed by Alex Hammond on Sky Sports Racing beforehand, he did have a runner in a three-year-old fillies’ race on that Ascot card.

Margaret Dumont, named after a regular character in the Marx Brothers films, is listed as owned by Tactful Finance and J Barnett. Tactful Finance is the father-and-son team of Cyril and Jonathan Shack. Cyril was one of the mainstays in the Paul Kelleway stable in the 1980’s, often in partnerships with, among others, David Dein, one-time Arsenal Vice-Chairman and the man who recruited Arsene Wenger.

The younger Shack is a Marx Brothers devotee and he sourced the Camelot filly at the 2018 yearling sales, paying only 20,000gns for her. Mark Johnston agreed to take her having approved her looks even though she didn’t meet his own strict rating criterion for one of his own purchases.

The Ascot race included three other well-connected fillies, home-breds owned respectively by the Queen and Bjorn Nielsen, with a third bred by David and Diane’s Nagle’s Barronstown Stud but now in different ownership.

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Joe Fanning set off in front on Margaret Dumont, encouraged by the stamina she had shown when third on debut over ten furlongs at Thirsk last month. The Queen’s Lightness, a daughter of Shamardal trained by John Gosden, had had three previous placed runs behind her; and when she took up the running in the home straight, Barnett was resigned to her fate.

But then the renowned Johnston factor kicked in and Margaret Dumont rallied to beat the 82-rated favourite in a tight finish. This promising filly has a bright future, especially when allowed to race over further. Charlie Johnston was quickly on the phone saying her entry in a sale later this month would not be fulfilled.

Barnett also bought into a French-trained horse last year, but the then two-year-old Fitzcarraldo was always going to take time to come to hand. A big, backward son of Makfi, again relatively-cheaply bought at €27,000, he came strongly recommended by Nicolas Clement, but as the spring and lockdown wore on, there was little sign of any action.

Those planned trips across to Paris and Chantilly for weekend breaks were just a forlorn illusion, but then suddenly the by-now gelded Fitzcarraldo started pleasing the ever-patient Clement. He was ready for a first run early this month over 10 furlongs at Compiegne and, having turned for home well behind the principals, stayed on all the way home to finish an eight-length fifth to Zaykava, a son of top French stallion Siyouni out of the unbeaten Arc winning champion, Zarkava.

Barnett has a half-share in this potential stayer with the trainer and his breeder Hubert Honore taking the other half. With the public now being allowed back on track in France, starting at Deauville yesterday, those summer – what’s left of it – excursions on Eurostar might still be possible.

Deauville featured the full restitution to Group 1 success – if not yet domination of his generation - of Pinatubo. Beaten in both the 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes, he was a deserved winner of the Prix Jean Prat, run over seven furlongs (formerly a mile) since last year. Runner-up yesterday was Lope Y Fernandez, twice well behind Charlie Appleby’s champion last year, but now within three-quarters of a length, spectacularly out-running his 40-1 odds.

Pinatubo’s exploits last year were a fitting closing memento for sire Shamardal’s career which ended with his death earlier in 2020. Winning a Group 1 (and hopefully for Godolphin more) as a three-year-old adds credibility to the obvious stallion appeal of an unbeaten champion juvenile.

Saturday’s highlight in the UK was the July Cup and I’ve not heard a single negative word about Oxted’s trainer Roger Teal who goes around the whole time with a smile on his face. Anyone who has met Roger will find it hard to believe he was once a jumps jockey, but he’s a talented trainer as his previous handling of 2,000 Guineas runner-up (to Saxon Warrior) Tip Two Win amply testified.

Now his training career has gone into a different orbit. Oxted, a four-year-old son of Mayson, fully justified Teal’s decision to avoid Royal Ascot after his Palace House Stakes success last month, by beating the winners of both the Commonwealth Cup (Golden Horde) and Golden Jubilee (Hello Youmzain) as well as Sceptical and Khaadem, who were third and fourth in the latter event.

There was no hint of a fluke about the result as this former handicapper was always up with the pace and found much the best speed up the hill. His sire won the same race in his four-year-old season on officially heavy ground, something that is always thrown up to diminish his excellence as a racehorse.

This progressive sprinter, who as a gelding will have no stud future to worry about, will be free to continue to give pleasure on the track to his trainer and three owners who include Tony Hirschfeld. Tony’s had plenty of success over the years with horses trained by Susan Piggott and later William Haggas.

Mayson has always been close to my heart having carried in his racing days my former colours, now more realistically of David Armstrong. Raymond Tooth has bred a number of horses from him, notably Sod’s Law, but one Mayson in which he has a share was a breeze-up purchase last year by Shaun Keightley. Mayson Mount, owned in partnership by Ray and Clive Washbourn runs tonight at Kempton with decent chances of a first win.

Another much more famous Raymond Tooth-owned horse was Punjabi and his finest hour, winning the 2009 Champion Hurdle, was remembered again yesterday when Barry Geraghty, the man who rode him , announced his retirement at the age of 40.

After the epic victory over Celestial Halo and Binocular up the Cheltenham hill, Geraghty once described him as “the bravest horse I’ve ridden”. Whether in the manner of all things ephemeral in racing, that accolade was traded elsewhere about earlier and later triumphs in his 24-year career, no matter. We’ll take it.

Barry was always polite and professional, calm and powerful in a finish. He fitted neatly somewhere between his other contemporary fellow Irish-born greats, McCoy and Walsh in terms of strength and subtlety. Now all we have to admire of the four riding giants of this latest era is Richard Johnson and he is now in the unusual post-McCoy position of no longer being champion jockey.

It wasn’t all gloom for the Queen on the racetrack last week. Her home-bred colt Tactical followed up his Windsor Castle triumph at Royal Ascot by stepping up a furlong to win the July Stakes at Newmarket. Andrew Balding intends looking for Group 1 prizes now for the son of Toronado, with the Prix Morny as a likely first step.

Godolphin and Charlie Appleby have a very talented juvenile with Classic pretensions in the Superlative Stakes winner Master Of The Seas. In what looked an above-average renewal of the seven-furlong event, the son of Dubawi drew clear for a three-length verdict, and must rate right at the top among this year’s juvenile colts.

- TS