Teal Tipping Big Things For Stable Star | TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video

By Tom Peacock

Suffice to say that the Qipco 2000 Guineas did not immediately spring to mind when Roger Teal first set eyes upon Tip Two Win (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}).

The small May foal, a first to be bred as something of an afterthought by Surrey-based owner Anne Cowley, has taken all those associated with him by surprise in winning four times and accumulating almost £200,000 in prize money through several lucrative trips to Qatar.

“We picked him up unbroken and he looked like a Welsh mountain pony when we got him,” Teal chuckles at the memory. “Covered in mud, a little hairball he was. I said to my wife there was no way back then you would imagine this would have happened.”

Cowley, who has owned numerous horses including listed winner and G3 Sovereign S.-placed The Rectifier (Langfuhr), is a self-confessed novice in the bloodstock world. She gained an interest in racing from going with her late husband Fred, after whom Tip Two Win’s dam Freddie’s Girl (More Than Ready) is named.

“She had arthritis and I wasn’t going to run her any more but Adam Kirby, who used to ride other horses for me, kept asking what I was doing with her,” she explained. “I’d say she was happy in a field and that I wasn’t into breeding, I know nothing about it and I’ve never sat on a horse in my life. This went on for a few years until finally I thought, ‘I’ll do it’. Seamus Durack, who had her, looked up what stallion would suit her best and he said ‘you can’t get better than Dark Angel.’”

So it proved. The son of one of the stallion discoveries of this century, who was born down the road from Teal at Kingwood Stud, began to show some sparkle on the gallops early in 2017.

“I him took to Lambourn to work one day and had a smile on my face afterwards,” Teal said. “You’re never totally sure so we went again a couple of weeks later. I rang Anne and said ‘I think we’re going to have some fun with this little fella.’ I wasn’t going to run him before May until he was actually two so we held back a little. We went to Windsor, he won very nicely on his first run, then back at Windsor again [when third] it was bit of a messy race; he got held up when he should’ve been going forward, but David Probert, who rode him, said ‘don’t change your plans, he’s still a nice horse.’ He went to Ripon, ran second in a listed race, then won a listed race at Doncaster. He’s been a little superstar.”

After Tip Two Win chased home Mark Johnston’s unbeaten Elarqam (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the G3 Tattersalls S. at Newmarket in late September, Teal realised he could aim even higher.

“Adam Kirby came in and said because of his size, he was worried he might not train on, so he persuaded us to go for the Breeders’ Cup. We made the entry but unfortunately we didn’t get in by one and to be worth going for us he had to be guaranteed a run. Adrian Beaumont from the International Racing Bureau said there was a race in Qatar in December [the Al Rayyan S.] that would suit the horse down to the ground. Anne agreed and as he was fit and well, we went out there and he dotted up. That was seven furlongs, because he handled it, we thought we could take in the step up to a mile and he did it well again.”

That latest victory, in the Al Biddah Mile at the Emir’s Sword Festival in Doha in late February, encouraged Teal to consider the Guineas. While the trainer, a former assistant to Philip Mitchell, has only around 20 horses at Shefford Valley Stables in Berkshire, he has caused the odd upset in his time through the likes of dual Meydan and G3 Darley S. winner Steele Tango (Okawango).

“We’ve done well with what we’ve had I think,” he said. “For a small yard we’ve been out and danced with the big boys and come up lucky a few times. He’s a proper little horse; they don’t come along very often for small owners and trainers like us. Obviously Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden, Mark Johnston will be there with their big guns but he’s shown enough to say he’s good enough to have a crack at it anyway. If it doesn’t work out, we can always lower our sights next time.”

“He ran Mark Johnston’s close at Newmarket, that’s being trained for the Guineas, and he was second to him on soft ground,” Teal added. “He’s a fantastic moving horse, he’s got the most amazing stride for a small horse, he drops down into his gallop and really lengthens. If it’s good at Newmarket, they’d at least have to respect us.”

His owner is warming to the idea, although she might require a little more persuasion.

“I want to keep it very slow if I’ve got a good horse, I don’t want to throw them into anything above their head but Roger says he is a bloody good horse,” said the straight-talking Scotswoman. “I don’t think I can get my head around it yet, how good he’s turned out. He’s so laid back he’s comatose, if you saw him walk around the ring you wouldn’t have a pound each-way on him.”

As with all of the Cowley horses, Tip Two Win wears a distinctive white breast-girth in memory of Fred, as it was a way of him recognising their runners when he was suffering from dementia. It looks as if the tradition will continue for many more years as Anne has caught the breeding bug and has had another of her mares, Lovely Story (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}), covered by Dalham Hall’s New Approach (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

“Freddie’s Girl has thrown a Mastercraftsman yearling, who I’ve called Marion’s Boy after a friend of mine, and she’s due a foal in April by The Gurkha,” she explained. “The next one she’ll be covered by is Fastnet Rock, so I’m trying to pick the best.

“I was offered a lot of money for Tip Two Win after his first race, and more money for Freddie’s Girl in foal with The Gurkha, even had someone on the phone from Miami,” she added. “I’ve told them I’m in it for the long term and if I find a good horse I’m going to hold on to it. I’ve got to give them a chance.”

The couple both worked in the electrical engineering sector and Anne continues to maintain some financial interests in America, one mission requiring her to watch Tip Two Win’s first Qatar success over a mobile phone in a Burger King car park.

Her Stateside visits have also included a visit to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, and she has purchased Bow Bells (Giant’s Causeway) with her business associate Jay Grandfield. The daughter of G1 Belmont Matron S. winner Marylebone (Unbridled’s Song) won the Twin Lights S. at Monmouth in 2013 when in the care of Todd Pletcher.

“She’s in foal to American Pharoah, so I haven’t got to wait long until the foal comes,” she said. “It’s quite exciting. Once you get a few broodmares, you start having a lot of yearlings, and it is a hell of a lot cheaper; I’ve lost a lot of money buying duff horses. I’m paying the money for the best, so we’ve got a chance.”

Tip Two Win’s odds for the Guineas do realistically reflect his chances; the surprise package is available at around 50-1.

Nevertheless, his owner has one main target.

“My goal is the Breeders’ Cup,” she said. “We missed out last year but even if we get into the meeting that would be great.”

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