Roger Teal’s tilt at Royal Ascot has taken on a personal aspect after the ability of his star horse, Tip Two Win, was doubted on television by Matt Chapman, a presenter on At The Races and ITV. “I saw Matt Chapman’s face the other day and I’d just like to take the smirk off it, to be honest,” Teal said on Tuesday, while clearly retaining his sense of humour about their difference of opinion.
Tip Two Win ran a huge race to be second in the 2,000 Guineas at odds of 50-1 last month, when the £107,000 prize money provided Teal with his biggest payday in 11 years as a trainer. Now he hopes the grey can go one place better in the St James’s Palace Stakes in a fortnight’s time.
“I think Matt thinks it was a bit of a fluke,” Teal continued, “but I never went into the Guineas thinking we should be a big outsider. Hopefully we can prove a point at Ascot.”
Chapman suggested on ATR on Sunday that Tip Two Win’s Newmarket effort could have been “a flash in the pan” and added: “Until that horse runs again there’s gonna be a lot of people thinking, is it real or not?” The colt is third in the betting for the Ascot race at 13-2, suggesting plenty of punters have similar concerns.
“I have full belief in Roger Teal but I just want a bit more proof about Tip Two Win,” was the response from Chapman on Tuesday. He added that he would be delighted to see a smaller yard succeeding on such a big stage. “To be smirk-wiped by Teal is something I would love. Obviously, if he really did come after me, he could squash me very easily.”
Teal was delighted to see the Guineas form work out so well in Saturday’s Derby, won by Masar, who had been a head behind Tip Two Win at Newmarket. Two other horses from the Guineas’ first five went on to finish in the first four in the Derby, underlining the quality of the Newmarket race.
Rather than go to Epsom to watch the Derby, Teal took Tip Two Win for a rare spin up a grass gallop on Saturday and was encouraged by what he saw from the three-year-old, who was freshened up in the weeks after his last race. “We don’t get much chance to go on the grass while it’s too firm but we’d had that bit of rain. He did a nice stretch along there. We were really pleased with him.
“He’s come out of it well. We gave him a bit of an easy time after, because he would have had a hard race. We wanted to prep him right for Royal Ascot, so hopefully we’ve done the right thing.
“He seems to be grand. He had a lovely stretch this morning; we were delighted with him. He seems to be just starting to blossom. I’m thrilled with him.”
It could be argued that the Ascot race, featuring a 90 degree turn before the home straight, will suit Tip Two Win rather better than Newmarket’s straight mile. In his previous outing, landing a valuable prize in Qatar, Tip Two Win moved from midfield to the lead in a matter of strides from the final turn, showing impressive acceleration.
“My horse has got a tremendous kick,” Teal said. “As long as we have a safe trip I’m sure he should kick off that bend. So we’re looking forward to it.”
Then, acknowledging his nerves about another attempt on a Group One prize, he added: “Well, we are and we aren’t. If the sun shines, we’ll be delighted because he’s best on a sounder surface, that’s for sure.“