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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.

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