Roger Teal reports his exciting prospect Kenzai Warrior ready to go for Classic glory this season, when he gets the chance.
The Karakontie colt made it two wins from as many starts as a juvenile when winning the Horris Hill Stakes at Newmarket in November, staying on strongly to account for solid yardstick Ropey Guest by half a length.
He was first seen winning his maiden at Salisbury in September, a race that has worked out extremely well, with runner-up Max Vega an emphatic Group Three victor subsequently.
His big target all winter has been the Qipco 2000 Guineas, which was scheduled for May 2, but will now not take place on that date and instead discussions will be held on rescheduling once racing in Britain has resumed following the coronavirus pandemic. It is a similar story with the Investec Derby.
Teal said: “We were working towards the Guineas obviously, and then we had all this and what do we do, are they going to run it, are they not going to run it (on original date), so it was handbrake on again. Obviously we wanted to keep him ticking over to get him there, but we didn’t want to overwork him.
“But now we’ve got an answer, I guess, that helps.”
The Horris Hill win suggested Kenzai Warrior would not be found wanting in the stamina department, a fact not lost on his trainer.
Teal – who sent out Tip Two Win to be second in the Guineas to Saxon Warrior in 2018 – said: “He never stopped growing last year, that’s what I took my time with him.
“I actually made an entry for him in the Derby at the second stage in April, because he’d probably be suited by a mile and a half, I’d say. He’s a galloper really and might be suited to it, but all plans are up in the air.
“Tip Two Win had an electric turn of foot, whereas Kenzai is a totally different kettle of fish, he’s more of a big, rangy galloper. If he stays, then that could be interesting.
“He’s like a bear at the moment, he’s one of those horses that enjoys what he does and he could do with a race really. He’s fresh and well every morning – he comes out like Muhammad Ali and wants to box you, but when the lads are on him he’s a brilliant ride. He’s just one of those that wants to get out and get on with it.
“The Guineas was the main target before all this happened and we were really looking forward to it. For a stable our size to have a quality horse like him, you feel a bit robbed not having the chance, but everyone is in the same boat.
“If the races are spaced out, you’d probably have a crack at both (Guineas and Derby). The Guineas has always been a great trial for the Derby and as long as the timings are right there’d be no reason he couldn’t do both.”
Tip Two Win, meanwhile, is doing well having been out of action since the Summer Mile at Ascot in July.
Teal said: “I wanted to start him off in the John O’Gaunt at Haydock, that’s gone by the wayside now as well, but what I’d like to find for him is a nice Listed race or conditions race just to get his confidence back.
“He’s been such a star for us and everything went wrong last year. If I could get his head back in front I’m sure he’ll just build on that again and he’s training really well. He’s got his old flair back.
“He’s really filled out now and looks great in his work.”
On hopes racing may resume in some form behind closed doors next month, Teal said: “I think we can manage it safely and it would be good for the public to have something to watch on television. It might even encourage new people to watch racing when things get back to normal. If we don’t get it back, then livelihoods are in danger.
“I suppose the confusing thing is the race programme, you want to offer some races for all types of horses, owners have stayed loyal and kept horses in training, they have to cater for all level of horses to give everyone a fair bite of the cherry.
“We’ve got probably our best team of horses, we know what we’ve got and are itching to let them out, but as long as everyone is healthy, that’s the main thing. It’s the same for all of us.
“Hopefully things will start to improve, but we’re in the unknown, we’ve never had to deal with anything like this.”