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Oxted delivers in King’s Stand thriller

Oxted returned to his brilliant best to run out victorious in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Roger Teal’s sprinter was reunited with an inspired Cieren Fallon – who had partnered him to success in the July Cup last season – and the young rider was able to stand up in his saddle to salute the watching crowd a few strides from the line.

The five-year-old was surprisingly running over the minimum distance for the first time in his career, although he had won the Portland Handicap over five and a half furlongs at Doncaster in 2019.

The pace in the early stages was red hot, with even Wesley Ward’s Maven struggling to keep tabs on the flying females Que Amoro and Winter Power.

A day to remember for the Oxted team
A day to remember for the Oxted team (David Davies/PA)

As Que Amoro began to weaken, Winter Power was left in front – but Jim Crowley appeared to have her covered on Battaash with a furlong to run.

However, last year’s winner, who had a setback in the off-season meaning he was making his seasonal debut, failed to pick up when Crowley asked for an effort and he was eventually swamped, although he clung on gallantly for fourth.

Oxted (4-1) had been under pressure for a while, but powered through close home to win going away by a length and three-quarters from Arecibo and American raider Extravagant Kid.

It was a first Royal Ascot winner for both trainer and jockey, the son of six-times champion Kieren Fallon who himself enjoyed so many memorable days at the showpiece meeting.

Teal said: “It’s unbelievable, like a dream come true. This horse has been such a wonderful servant and yet he’s only a young horse and hopefully there are more days to come.

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Oxted returns in victory
Oxted returns in victory (Steven Paston/PA)

“With the Saudi trip we went because the prize-money was fantastic, but I probably ran him in the wrong race – it was just the turf sprint was almost seven furlongs. He wasn’t used to dirt and it’s a different style of racing.

“I probably backed off him too much before the Abernant and at York the ground had just gone a little. I was getting asked all the time if I was disappointed, but I thought he ran a blinder.

“The reason we came here was because if we were ever trying him over five it had to be at Ascot as it’s a stiff five. After two furlongs, I won’t lie – I was a bit dubious, but once he got to halfway his stamina came through and he was very impressive.

“Cieren gets on well with him, he won the July Cup on him. Unfortunately he was injured before the Abernant and then he had to ride The Lir Jet in France who ended up not running so he missed the ride at York.

“I think we’ll look at the July Cup again next and then see.”

An overjoyed Fallon said: “It meant a lot. It’s Royal Ascot. It’s a Group One race. They don’t come much bigger than this – it’s a dream come true.

“Crossing that line, I never thought I’d get a feeling like it. What a feeling.

“Dropping back to a stiff five was always going to suit. There was a lot of pace in the race. With all the pace on, I thought I’d take my time, get him into a nice rhythm, get him balanced and it’s paid off.

“He was very impressive. The July Cup last year wasn’t a fluke. He’s a proper Group One horse and all credit to the team for changing it round from his last two races.”

Of partnering a winner at this fixture, he said: “It obviously means a lot to ride a winner here and keep up the family tradition, there’s a lot of pressure with people always asking questions about it.

“I’m thankful and grateful for all these opportunities and hopefully I keep progressing.

“I was on the phone to my dad when I was walking the course after the first race, he was telling me where to go and obviously I spoke to Roger and everything went according to plan.

“All credit to Roger, he had faith in me last year when I had my claim and wasn’t allowed to use it – I’m very thankful to him.”

James Bredin, owners’ representative for Extravagant Kid, who is trained by Brendan Walsh, said: “Frankie (Dettori) said he was drawn on the wrong side, but I wouldn’t want to put that forward as an excuse.

I think his programme will be the norm, with Goodwood and York firmly on his agenda

“It will be David Ross’ decision about whether we stay on for the July Cup.”

Ross said: “After Dubai that’s his second trip on a straight sprint (track) and he appears to thoroughly enjoy it.

“We will think about the July Cup and if that means hopping back, so be it.”

Angus Gold, Shadwell Estate’s racing manager, said of the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash: “Considering he had four months at the stud and came in later than usual we have to be delighted.

“He came there to win his race cruising just like the Battaash we know, but Jim said he just needed it and he had a hell of a heave as he went past the post.

“I think his programme will be the norm, with Goodwood and York firmly on his agenda.”

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.”

King’s Stand date awaits Oxted at Royal Ascot

Roger Teal is excited to see how his star sprinter Oxted performs over five furlongs in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

Last season’s July Cup hero has failed to add to his tally so far this term, but has performed with credit to be placed in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket and the Duke of York on the Knavesmire.

While the son of Mayson has been campaigned almost exclusively over six furlongs, Teal feels the time is right to test Oxted over the minimum distance for the first time.

The shortest race he has contested so far was the five-and-a-half-furlong Portland Stakes at Doncaster, which he won in 2019.

Roger Teal and son Harry with Oxted after the July Cup
Roger Teal and son Harry with Oxted after the July Cup (Hugh Routledge/PA)

“He’s worked on the grass this morning and I was very happy with him, so all roads lead to Ascot at the moment,” said Teal on Tuesday.

“We’re going to drop back to five (furlongs). I think he’s just been racing a bit aggressively and we’re going to take a step back. Whether it’s the right thing to do or wrong thing to do, we’ll find out at Ascot.

“It will be interesting to try it. It’s a stiff five at Ascot, so if you’re going to try it anywhere, that’s the place to do it.

“These sprinters live on their nerves a bit and when he gets to the races, he gets a bit more fired up.

“He’s been a bit on it on his last couple of runs, so we’ll see how he goes over five.”

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.”

Oxted in mix for Duke Of York

July Cup winner Oxted is among 13 remaining sprinters on course for the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York.

Roger Teal’s stable star has failed to win since his Newmarket success – but he has had excuses at Ascot (ground), in Saudi Arabia (on dirt) and on his return to action when runner-up as odds-on favourite at the Craven Meeting.

The five-year-old escapes a penalty in the six-furlong Group Two, and Teal will be hoping he can get back to winning ways on Wednesday.

Tim Easterby’s Art Power may be booked for a big season, based on the progress he made last year.

A winner at Royal Ascot in handicap company, he was beaten just a length on Champions Day back at the same course.

Ed Walker has high hopes this season for Starman, who lost his unbeaten record at Ascot in the Champions Sprint.

Kevin Ryan has left in the veteran Brando, Emaraaty Anna, Last Empire and Queen Jo Jo.

David O’Meara’s Summerghand is seven but has put up two career-bests the last twice – at Lingfield and then when beating Oxted.

Molatham, Final Song, Lady In France, Nahaarr and Ventura Rebel complete the field.

The Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes has attracted 14 entries, which include Sir Michael Stoute’s Noon Star.

A filly by Galileo out of Sir Henry Cecil’s champion Midday, Noon Star was impressive on her return to action at Wetherby and is as low as 10-1 for the Cazoo Oaks.

The Queen has a potential runner in Companionship – trained by William Haggas, who could also run Lady Rockstar and the once-raced Sea Empress.

Roger Varian’s Teona, second to Sea Empress on debut and then a winner by nine lengths, could take the Haggas filly on again.

Ralph Beckett’s Twisted Reality was impressive on her only start to date at Nottingham and could step up in class, while George Boughey may ask Mystery Angel to back up quickly following her win at Newmarket last week.

Jim Bolger, fresh from his Classic win, may run French Fusion – while Aidan O’Brien’s sole possible is Snowfall.

Auria, Glenartney, Quiet Assassin, Senita and Technique, declared at Lingfield on Saturday, complete the list.

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.”

Teal to make late call on Oxted’s York outing

Roger Teal will decide closer to the time whether Oxted takes his chance in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York next month.

Should last year’s July Cup winner sidestep the Group Two over six furlongs on May 12, he would go straight to Royal Ascot.

“He’s all good. We’re possibly heading to York for the Duke of York. We’ll just see how he is,” said Teal.

“We’ve left him in that and if we’re happy with him we’ll run him, and if we’re not happy with him we’ll wait for Ascot.”

Oxted was beaten into second place by Summerghand when bidding for back-to-back victories in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket on his seasonal debut.

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.