Late plunge pays off as Cieren Fallon and Oxted lower colours of Battaash
Late money forced Oxted down from 8-1 to 4-1 and it proved to be a well-founded gamble as Cieren Fallon calmly plotted his way to a first Royal Ascot success in the most furious race of the week.
Battaash was also heavily supported as the clock ticked down to off time and supporters would have been salivating as Jim Crowley surged to the front.
But on his first start since last season's Nunthorpe, Battaash wandered towards the rail to finish a tired fourth, leaving Oxted to weave through runners and win going away, Fallon allowing himself the luxury of a punch of the air several strides before the line.
Arecibo also charged home late to be second for Robert Cowell at 28-1, with US challenger Extravagant Kid grabbing third as an eight-year-old.
Oxted's win was a huge result for trainer Roger Teal, who has built his stable star back up after trying him on the dirt in Saudi Arabia in January.
"It's a dream come true, a Group 1 at Royal Ascot," said Fallon. "All credit to Roger, Harry, Sue and the team back home.
"I've been very blessed, very lucky to sit on a horse like this so early in my career. Harry [Teal, son and assistant to Roger] does all the hard work behind the scenes, I'm very lucky to sit on him on a racetrack."
Fallon stood himself down after a fall to miss Oxted's return on home soil at Newmarket, and then missed the chance to reunite the partnership when quarantining in France for the ride aboard The Lir Jet as part of his retainer for Qatar Racing, a trip that was ultimately fruitless as the horse was not declared for the Poule d'Essai des Poulains.
Fallon said: "It's part and parcel of racing. I went there to ride in the Guineas, it's a big race as well. I missed riding this lad but it come good today and that's the main thing. I’m glad to get back on board and all credit to the owners to have faith and put me back on board.
"I got a lovely trip, they went a real solid gallop early on and I didn’t panic. Normally he can be quite keen but they’ve gone hard, I’ve just given him his head, let him get into a nice rhythm and just picked them up when I’ve needed to. He's shown that the July Cup wasn’t a fluke, he’s a proper Group 1 horse."
Fallon added: "It means a lot to me, all my family and my friends. I’ve got so much support around me, my boss Mr Haggas, Sheikh Fahad, I’m just so blessed to have all the people around me to help, motivate and encourage me."
Come on Fenton!
The Teal family were caught on camera roaring home Oxted by his stable nickname Fenton, a moniker which Roger explains came from the viral video of a man and his wayward hound.
"It's named after that dog around Richmond Park, when that guy was shouting Fenton!" said Teal. "I said the next horse that came in the yard would be called Fenton. So we were all roaring it."
Teal was at pains to point out that he never lost faith in Oxted, who was beaten by Summerghand in the Abernant and then finished third to Diamond Jubilee favourite Starman in the Duke of York.
"It's unbelievable, dreams come true you know, and this horse has been such a wonderful servant for us," said Teal.
"I spoke to the owners and said if we were ever going to try five it would have to be at Ascot, on that stiff five. I didn't even enter for the Diamond Jubilee, we made our mind up a long time ago what race we were going for. After two furlongs I was a bit dubious, I won't lie to you, but once he got to halfway and kicked on his stamina came through and he was very impressive."
Cowell produced Arecibo in prime shape and was thrilled with his run under Jamie Spencer.
"To be honest, we weren't totally surprised that he ran so well," said Cowell. "He's turned a corner with us recently, and you could just tell that he was in great form leading up to this race. Mentally more than physically – maybe he just feels a million dollars. He looked it, and was squealing round the paddock, and I had a suspicion that he could run well."
Read more from day one of Royal Ascot 2021
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