Oxx relishing prospect of the new flat season

John Oxx is relishing the prospect of the new Flat season, which gets underway tomorrow at the Curragh.

The master of Currabeg began his training career in 1979, and many years and many Group One 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 2009 unbeaten, landing six Group Ones, including the 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and the Arc.

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.

“ 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 Oxx.

“I think we have a nice team of horses. 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 Sea The Stars’ half-brother, Born To Sea.

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 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.”

Another possible Guineas candidate is Akeed Mofeed, although Oxx believes he could instead go down the Derby route.

“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,” 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.

“Initially we were disappointed, but I think in hindsight it was a good run and he ran to a rating of 113, which is pretty good.

“He could go to Leopardstown as well on April 15 for either the Guineas Trial or the Ballysax Stakes.

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

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