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Teal fears tendon problem could scupper Oxted’s season

Roger Teal fears crack sprinter Oxted could be sidelined until next season after suffering a tendon injury.

After landing the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, Oxted was a close-up third in defence of his July Cup title at Newmarket.

A floating bone chip that required surgery brought a premature end to his campaign after his July Cup run, but hopes were high he could begin his season in the Duke Of York Stakes before an attempt to retain his Royal Ascot crown.

However, a problem with his near foreleg surfaced after a routine gallop and after initial scans on the injury, the Lambourn trainer now fears the worst.

Teal said: “We are still not 100 per cent clear how bad the injury is, but obviously it has knocked us out of York and will probably knock us out for the rest of the season.

“We are going to have him re-scanned again next week and then maybe, if there is some sort of miracle…

“I’ve been in this game long enough. It’s probably more doubtful than not he will run again this year.

“He has a small tear in his tendon. Sometimes you can get away with a knock, so that’s why we have to have him re-scanned, but we fear the worst. Once you have something there, it often develops into something worse.

“He is still relatively young as far as sprinters go and if we look after him now, hopefully we can get him back.”

Teal, who trains the six-year-old for Tony Hirschfeld, Stephen Piper, David Fish and John Collins, added: “Telling the owners is the hardest part. To be fair, I can’t fault them.

“They took it really well. They have been in this game long enough. They are athletes and they go wrong. It is sport, but it’s that old saying of ‘half a ton on glass legs’.

Trainer Roger Teal (left) and Cieren Fallon (right) after Oxted's win in the July Cup
Trainer Roger Teal (left) and Cieren Fallon (right) after Oxted’s win in the July Cup (Hugh Routledge/PA)

“We got rid of a knee chip, which was a bit of a bummer and stopped him last season, and he has been moving brilliantly and he was flying.

“We were just so hopeful. He just did a routine canter. It can only take one bad step.

“It is what it is and there are worse things going on in the world, so we can’t be too downhearted.

“When it happened, I said to my wife, Sue, ‘It always happens to us, doesn’t it?’, but she said, ‘No. It doesn’t!’  – she really put me back in my box!

“But when you have a Group One horse like him and you are looking forward to him, it gets you a bit.”

Whenthedealinsdone makes his seasonal bow at Newmarket on Saturday
Whenthedealinsdone makes his seasonal bow at Newmarket on Saturday (John Walton/PA)

With the stable’s flag-bearer sidelined, Teal is hoping that horses such as Whenthedealinsdone and Chipstead can help to partly fill the void left by the dual Group One winner.

Four-year-old Dark Angel gelding Whenthedealinsdone signed off a progressive three-year-old campaign when beaten two lengths in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster and will make his seasonal bow in the Group Three Palace House Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Teal said: “I am really delighted with the way he has come forward. I really like him. I would be really disappointed if he didn’t progress this year.”

Oxted’s four-year-old full-brother Chipstead ended last season with three successive victories at Bath and made his seasonal debut behind Gale Force Maya in a competitive handicap on the Rowley Mile two weeks ago.

Teal has also recently acquired classy handicapper Bickerstaffe, who won three times for Karl Burke last season and ended the campaign on a mark of 98 for owner-breeders David and Emma Armstrong.

“Chipstead was a little bit too fresh and keen for his own good at Newmarket and paid the price,” added Teal.

“He could come forward and I have Bickerstaffe, who is a lovely horse. So we have some nice horses and we have some two-year-olds we are chipping away quietly with.

“So, hopefully we have a good team. Oxted does leave big shoes to fill, though.”

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