Champions Day: Roger Teal hopeful 'one-in-a-million' Oxted can ensure another party to remember for the team
ROGER TEAL has promised to blow the roof off of Ascot if ‘one-in-a-million’ Oxted wins the Champions Sprint.
The trainer’s booming cheer could be heard back home in Lambourn as his star passed the line in front in the July Cup.
And the post-race scenes at Newmarket were one of the highlights of the summer as Teal landed his first Group 1.
His sprinter returns to the track this afternoon after a small setback and Teal has promised a repeat performance if they come out on top again.
Teal laughed: “Please god, I just want that feeling back again!
“We had a great time celebrating and it will be the same again this time I can assure you that. That was an afternoon we’ll never forget and we made sure we made the most of it!”
Teal, 53, moved to Windsor House in Lambourn last year after spells training in Epsom and Great Shetford.
But one thing has always remained the same. It’s always been a family affair.
Wife Sue is the backbone of the operation, while son Harry is assistant trainer and Oxted’s daily work partner.
Harry tried to tell the world that Oxted would win the July Cup after a brilliant piece of pre-race work on the gallops, and Teal senior says he’s at it again.
He said: “Harry is his bullish self again, put it that way!
“Harry rides him out everyday, he knows him better than anyone and at the moment he’s delighted with him.
“He’s as pleased with him now as he was going into the July Cup.
“For everyone it would just be so special. Everyone rolls their sleeves up and gets stuck in, we all have our roles and it would mean a lot for the whole team.
“For the lads back at home and everyone else, it would be a massive achievement if we could go and pull another Group 1 out the bag.
“He’s a one in a million horse for a team like us. They don’t come along very often horses like him and he means a hell of a lot to everyone.
“We trained the mum and it’s a nice dynasty, we know the family well and we’ve always liked him.”
Conditions at this time of year could present the biggest obstacle to Oxted’s Ascot bid.
But Teal gave him a spin on the grass this week and hopes he might just prove he can go on soft ground.
He added: “On his pedigree he’s bred to go on it and even his action makes you think he’ll suit it.
“I’ve always said the couple of times he has disappointed on it, there had been other reasons than the ground, and we might have read too much into the going.
“His first ever run at Doncaster it was pretty soft and he ran a blinder that day. And he’s obviously strengthened up since.
“There’s only one way of finding out really!”
A trip to the Breeders’ Cup in America had been on the cards earlier in the season, but Teal has pulled stumps on that plan for now.
As a gelding Teal hopes Oxted could be around for a while yet and his team of owners are happy to wait a season with travel restrictions proving tricky.
Teal explained: “We won’t go to the Breeders’ Cup this year.
“He’s only a four-year-old and there’s lots going on in the world and we’re probably better off staying at home.
“We’ll run today, and win, lose or draw, we’ll put him away and concentrate on making a plan for next year.
“Every other year you’d be really excited for the Breeders’ Cup but just at the moment it wouldn’t be as fun.
“Everyone getting the travel there is too much and if you want to do it, you want to do it properly and make sure everyone that goes over with the owners really enjoys it.
“And can you imagine if we go into lockdown or something while it’s on and we’re all stuck in America, it would be bloody madness.
“We’ll give the Americans a chance this year!”
Oxted’s owners will be wearing the lucky pink of their silks again at Ascot.
It means they might be seen if they can’t be heard over Teal’s celebrations.
Teal said: “The group will all be at Ascot on Saturday cheering him on, they love the horse.
“The only one that won’t be able to make it is Tony Hirschfeld as he lives in Spain and he’d have to quarantine so he’ll be watching on the TV.
“David Fish, Steve Piper and we’ve got a new member who’s just bought a new share John Collins and he’ll be attending on Saturday.
“This horse has already been brilliant for them, but I hope there’s still more to come yet.”
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