Trainer Roger Teal is looking forward to saddling Dancing Gemini in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park on Saturday (July 6th) and is pinning his hopes on his stable star “running a blinder” to challenge City Of Troy in Saturday’s Betfred Derby rematch.

Dancing Gemini, who was homebred by David and Linda Fish, was a Listed winner in 2023 and has run two excellent races in defeat so far this season. Currently the 7/1 joint-second favourite with race sponsor Coral, the three-year-old son of Camelot came home strongly to finish the half-length runner-up in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp in May, before taking sixth place behind City Of Troy in the Betfred Derby at Epsom Downs on June 1st.

Speaking today on a Zoom call arranged by QIPCO British Champions Series and The Jockey Club, Teal said: “Dancing Gemini is very well and has taken his work very well. We gave him a bit of a letdown after the Derby, freshened him up and then started winding him back up. He has carried on where he left off and we are very happy with him.

“He took the experience of Epsom very well with all the razmataz of Derby Day and everything. He handled it all pretty good. He was a little bit buzzy for a few days afterwards but has settled back down now and is back to his old self.

“In the Derby, I thought ‘what’s going on?’ after two furlongs as we were out the back and I knew it was going to be a massive task to get anywhere from there. When Dylan (Browne McMonagle, jockey) organised him, he got pushed wide coming into the straight. He started to make ground and we started to think the dream was alive. He ran a cracker and he made up an awful amount of ground very quickly, but just faded in the last 100 yards up the hill.

“We were quite bullish he’d run a big race after the French Guineas and he proved he is very talented. Whether it be Saturday or in the future, he is definitely going to have his day in the sunshine.”

No illusions

The Lambourn trainer is under no illusions however about taking on Derby winner City Of Troy once again, although he does think Saturday’s distance of 10 furlongs could prove ideal for Dancing Gemini.

He continued: “We had a wide trip in the Derby and were further back than we wanted to be, whereas Ryan (Moore, rider of City Of Troy) went down the inner and gained many lengths on us. If we can be closer to him on Saturday, I can see us shortening the distance between us.

“I think a mile and a quarter will be fine for him. He just failed to stay in the Derby the way he was positioned but I think the step back to a mile and a quarter will be right up his street to be fair.

“The horse hasn’t had much chance to run on decent ground with all the wet weather so we are not really concerned about the going or if it stays dry or we get some rain. We are happy to run on both types of ground.

“City Of Troy is obviously a very good horse and Aidan has been very confident and bullish about him, even after he got beat in the Guineas as he knew that was on off day. We’ve got to respect him but we’ll roll our sleeves up and what do what we do. If we can get anywhere near City Of Troy, then we’re going to run a blinder. We’ve just got to let the horse do what he can do.”

On Saturday, Dancing Gemini will have a new jockey in Kieran Shoemark. Explaining how this came about, Teal said: “The horse had a little spin at Kempton last week and Oisin (Murphy) had a sit on him because we were hoping that he would be able to ride, but now he has to go to Haydock for the Lancashire Oaks. Oisin was really happy with him and just gave him a nice easy breeze round. It was all good."

The chosen one

“We whittled it down to three jockeys and decided on Kieran as he won on Dancing Gemini’s dam (Lady Adelaide) for David (Fish) and has ridden several horses for David in the past, so it was only right really that we offered the ride to him first.”

With 31 horses in training, Teal’s Windsor House Stables is not huge and he admits it is a real lift to have a horse such as Dancing Gemini.

He continued: “It’s amazing to have a horse of Dancing Gemini’s calibre in the yard and for his owner-breeders David and Linda Fish. It’s just a dream come true for the horse to be turning out as good as he is.

“He is very straightforward to deal with and loves his work, he takes it all in his stride. He is a bit noisy when he first comes out and when he comes back to the yard. He likes to let everyone know who he is – the top dog in the yard! He is very relaxed though and everyone who has ridden him says he is a joy to ride – just what you need really.

“The whole team here does a great job and we seem to find a good one each or every other year. For a yard of our size, it’s been brilliant. I don’t think we’ve ever disgraced ourselves and it would lovely to have a few more good horses in the yard but they are very few and far between, that’s for sure.

“David (Fish) has a nice Starspangledbanner two-year-old – he is a big horse who is just filling his frame. We just have to be patient with him - when he strengthens up, I think he could be OK.”

Referring to what the Coral-Eclipse, which forms part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, means to him, Teal concluded: “The Coral-Eclipse is a race I have enjoyed watching for years and years. We had a little taste of it with Steele Tango against Sea The Stars years ago (2009) and it was fantastic to be a part of it.

“There are always top horses in it and whatever wins it goes on to prove themselves as one of the top horses around.”

Hoping for the best

David Stevens of Coral said: “This is our 49th year of Coral sponsorship and it’s a bit like being an England supporter – you always hope for the best but sometimes are disappointed!

“If you go back to 2005, we thought we were going to get the clash of the Derby winners with Shamardal and Motivator but Shamardal was declared a non-runner on the Friday and the race was won by Oratorio, who had been well beaten in the Derby by Motivator.

“It is disappointing White Birch is not running as he would have been the older horse taking on the three-year-olds which is what the race is all about. He would have been the chief market rival to City Of Troy, but in his absence, the Derby winner is now 2-5 favourite to complete the big race double."