Cieren Fallon celebrated the first Group-race winner of his career as Oxted continued his progression through the sprinting ranks in the Betway Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.
Having signed off last season with victory in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster under the son of six-times champion jockey Kieren Fallon, the Roger Teal-trained four-year-old made no mistake on his first venture into Pattern company.
Hitting the front approaching the final quarter-mile of the six-furlong Group Three prize, the 7-2 chance kept on strongly to repel the late challenge of Breathtaking Look by a length.
Teal said: “It has been a stop-start campaign and I had him primed to run in this in April. Thankfully we eased off with him and when we got the date for this we knew what was happening so we stoked him up a bit and God bless him he has done it well.
“He popped out and travelled lovely. I saw him powering up the hill. Cieren said he was just having a bit of a look around, but he did it nicely.”
Teal hopes this is the first of many big days for Oxted, who could next be seen at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, for which he was introduced at 20-1 by Betway and 12-1 with Betfair.
Teal added: “My plan is the July Cup with this horse. I think as he won today he is a sprinter on the up. I’ll speak to the owners, as I think they want to go to Ascot. I feel he is a six-furlong horse.”
The Lambourn handler, who will saddle Kenzai Warrior in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on Saturday, had nothing but praise for the winning rider following his landmark success.
He said: “He gets on really well with the horse, so if ain’t broke don’t fix it. Cieren is on the up as well and he won’t be claiming three (pounds) for very long!”
Fallon said: “I controlled the pace on the rail, and when I asked him to pick up and lengthen he picked up and hit the rising ground really well. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards for the rest of the season for him.
“He was a little bit immature last year and Mr Teal and the team have done a great job to mentally get him to the right place. He’s grown up and strengthened and he’s proved that today.
“All credit to Mr Teal, I couldn’t use my claim in this race and he kept me on him. Hopefully I can start to improve as a rider. Mr (William Haggas) sent me away to America to get my fractions right and I showed the benefit there.”
Twenty years on from his father winning the 2000 Guineas with King’s Best, Fallon will have his first Classic ride in the 1000 Guineas on Sunday, when he partners the George Baker-trained Les Hogues – whose form received a major boost this week when her narrow Maisons-Laffitte conqueror Dream And Do landed the French 1000 Guineas.
He said: “I’m very lucky to get the ride on her and her form was boosted last weekend with the French Guineas winner. I’ve not sat on her, but she looks like she’s been staying on very well in every race she’s run over seven, so going up in trip and the rising ground at Newmarket could play to her favour.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunities and hopefully I can repay people with winners.”