John Oxx: Classic-winning trainer discusses his top 2012 prospects

News RSS / / 23 March 2012 / Leave a Comment

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Does Oxx have another 2000 Guineas winner in his stable?

Does Oxx have another 2000 Guineas winner in his stable?

"He's doing everything well at the moment and we'll wait and see how far he can go."

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 many years and many Group 1 races later, his desire appears as strong as ever.

The one horse who perhaps advertised his training talents better than any was the brilliant Sea The Stars, who went through his three-year-old campaign in 2009 unbeaten, landing six Group 1 prizes in as many months in three different countries including the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and the Arc. Seas The Stars ended his career with a Timeform master rating of 142, placing him joint-ninth in the list of top Flat horses ever.

By his own admittance, the following year was a quiet one, but Oxx appears to have a strong hand to go to war with this year.

"I think we have a nice team of horses" said Oxx. We have some nice three-year-olds and some nice new horses, so fingers crossed. 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 might have two potential Classic contenders on his hands, perhaps most interestingly Born To Sea, a half-brother to Sea The Stars.

Although he has plenty to live up to, he made a most impressive start to his career when landing a Curragh Listed race on his debut in September and he was found to be suffering from a muscle injury when beaten by Nephrite on his only other start.

"He's fine and had a good winter, it's a case of so far, so good," said Oxx.

"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 (currently trading at [18.0]) 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, but we'll see nearer the time. 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."

Another possible Guineas candidate is [34.0]-shot Akeed Mofeed, a horse who features in the Irish section of Timeform Horses to Follow 2012, 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 last year and then when we ran in the Beresford, the ground ended up being very deep and the winner just got away from us a bit. He could go to Leopardstown as well on April 15 for either the Guineas Trial or the Ballysax Stakes if we want to try him over that trip.

"If he and Born To Sea run at Leopardstown that day, we could either be coming home very happy or very sad!"

Akeed Mofeed, a [19.0] chance for the Epsom Derby on June 2, is rated 114p with Timeform while Born To Sea has a master figure of 108p.

Oxx also has a clutch of older horses who could make their mark this year, headed by Doncaster Cup winner Saddler's Rock, who has Royal Ascot on his agenda.

"He won the Doncaster Cup as a three-year-old and I'm pleased with him at the moment," Oxx said. "The plan would be for him to start off in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on May 20 and all going well there, he'd then go to Royal Ascot. Given he's stayed two and a quarter miles at Doncaster as a three-year-old, you would be hopeful he'd stay the trip at Ascot (two and a half miles) all right.

The trainer also added that Alanza, a filly who won three times for the yard last year, will probably start off in a mile Group 3 race on Guineas day at the Curragh and then hopefully run in all the good fillies' mile races."

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