He doesn’t come from a powerful yard, he didn’t cost the earth at the sales and he isn’t ridden by a superstar jockey, yet the stars have aligned this season in propelling the 4-year-old Oxted and his connections into the sports very top tier.
His path to stardom has been anything but normal. Trained at Windsor House Stables in Lambourn by Roger Teal, his first two years as a racehorse provided plenty of promise and at times, a lack of consistency. It was not until a jockey change that the young sprinter seemed to hit his straps. The choice? A youngster in his first full season riding at the top table, Cieren Fallon Jr.
However, little did connections know that such a partnership was to provide a springboard for Group 1 glory in 2020.
Despite the disrupted start to this year, Oxted reappeared in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes, a race consistently contested by the sport’s great sprinters.
The 2020 renewal was no different with a number of Group 1 performers lining up. Oxted continued his great rise up the ranks with a win that was to set the tone for what was to come, his biggest success to date in the Darley July Cup.
Relatively unfancied at 14-1 it appeared to be a tough ask for the gelding, but he stood up to the challenge magnificently.
Throughout the race Oxted looked the best horse, and he came away from the pack winning the race in very authoritative style.
Following the race his trainer Roger Teal said: “I think I’m going to pass out. This has been the dream since Doncaster and it has come true.”
The win emphasised the bond between Oxted and Fallon which has only blossomed since the pair were first matched together in a handicap at the July Course last August, and it is something Teal feels has helped sprinting’s latest star enjoy such a meteoric rise.
“I had a lot of people asking why is he still on him and why are you using an apprentice in a Group One, but like I said, he gels with this horse and when you have a bond like that, you have got to back him. We backed him and the kid came good,” said Teal.
Oxted has yet to re-appear following his maiden Group 1 success, however Teal feel’s his stable star is ready for his next big challenge, the Group 1 QIPCO British Champion Sprint Stakes. Teal said: “He looks amazing and is still keeping his coat, which is great. He’s training really well and seems to have that mojo back and we’re really happy with him at the moment.”
“We’ve always been happy to compete with the best, that’s what we’re here for. We’ve always danced the dance with the big boys, and we’ve come out on top a few times and that’s where we want to be.”
The progressive sprinter is well-fancied for the big race this Saturday and will go up against the impressive winner of the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock in September in Dream of Dreams.
Young Cieren Fallon Jr was effusive when it came to discussing his mount.
“I’m very lucky to be in this position with a wonderful horse. Mr Teal and the team have done a brilliant job to get him where he is today and I’m looking forward to it.
“He’s got to go in as one of the favourites after what he’s done this year, he’s beaten most of his rivals in the Sprint category already. He’s only had two runs this year so will be going into the race fresh. It’s not really ground dependant but if we get quick ground his chances will be better.”
Tune into the ITV main channel this weekend to see if he can add yet more honours to his glittering CV.