Oxx plotting Classic assault
John Oxx is relishing the prospect of a new Flat season getting under way and is confident in the strength and depth of his current string.
The master of Currabeg began his training career in 1979 and the horse who perhaps advertised his talents better than any was the brilliant Sea The Stars, who went through his three-year-old campaign in 2009 unbeaten, landing six Group One prizes including the 2000 Guineas, the Derby and the Arc.
“You always look forward to the start, to the season starting again. This is the time when you’re full of hope. I suppose we’re natural optimists, but you have to be in this business,” said the trainer.
“We have some nice three-year-olds and some nice new horses – you need to have several nice ones in the yard, as the chances are only a couple will make it. This is the toughest place in the world to win races with the Ballydoyle team to take on, but hopefully we have enough quality to compete.”
Oxx has two potential Classic contenders on his hands including Born To Sea, a half-brother to Sea The Stars. He made a most impressive start to his career when landing a Curragh Listed race in September, and was found to be suffering from a muscle injury when beaten by Nephrite on his only other start.
Oxx went on: “He’s fine and had a good winter, it’s a case of so far, so good. He’s doing everything well at the moment and we’ll wait and see how far he can go. We’re not expecting him to be his brother reincarnated, but he’s entered in the 2000 Guineas and that is the objective.
“There is the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on April 15, which is three weeks before the Guineas itself, so that fits in nicely if we decide to give him a run. The setback he had hasn’t been a factor. It happened at the right time and he has had plenty of time to recover from that. We start again now, so fingers crossed.”
Another possible Guineas candidate is Akeed Mofeed, although Oxx believes he could instead go down the Derby route. He was a brilliant winner on his second start at Leopardstown, but was narrowly beaten in the Beresford Stakes in testing conditions.
“He’s got an entry in the Guineas as well and we’ll see whether we stick at that distance or whether we’d be better stretching him out a bit. We’re not quite sure which way we’re going at this point,” Oxx continued.
“He won his maiden well and in the Beresford, the ground ended up very deep and the winner just got away from us a bit. Initially we were disappointed, but I think in hindsight it was a good run. He could go to Leopardstown as well on April 15 for either the Guineas Trial or the Ballysax if we want to try him over that trip.”
Written by Mar 25th, 2012.on