Oxx patient over jockey decision

John Oxx says there is no hurry to find a replacement for Johnny Murtagh as retained rider for the Aga Khan’s Irish-trained horses.

The Currabeg trainer, who handles the bulk of the owner’s horses in Ireland, doesn’t to expect the matter to be discussed until the close of the Flat season.

“His Highness (the Aga Khan) has been away and there’s no great urgency (with filling the position) – we’ll sort it out when the season is over,” said Oxx.

“The country is full of good jockeys but a lot of them have good jobs already.”

Since Murtagh’s contract was terminated with immediate effect at the end of August, the Aga Khan’s horses with Oxx have been ridden by jockeys such as Declan McDonogh and Niall McCullagh.

Shane Foley has been aboard those trained by Mick Halford.

Oxx was speaking after Zand had made all the running under McDonogh in the Aga Khan colours to take a mile maiden at Leopardstown in good style on Saturday.

“He won handy and he did everything right. He stayed on well and took a bit of pulling up,” said Oxx.

“He’ll get a trip but is by Zamindar, who is bred to get fast horses.

“However, when you put a Kayhasi mare to him they tend to get a bit of distance. It’s a blend that has worked well with Zarkava.

“Zand should be a nice horse next year over a bit of a distance and he could start off in something like the Ballysax Stakes.”

Meanwhile Dermot Weld believes the conditions of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon could spark a revival in the fortunes of Sense Of Purpose.

The five-year-old mare has failed to show her best form in three starts this season, all run on her unfavoured soft ground.

Weld expects Sense Of Purpose to be reveal her true colours in this Grade Two on dirt over a mile and three-quarters.

“Sense Of Purpose will run in the Marathon. She didn’t get her ground all year and loves fast ground,” said the Rosewell House handler.

“The Marathon is on dirt and I’ve worked her at Dundalk and she handled it well.”

Weld will have a second runner at Santa Anita in the shape of lightly-raced three-year-old colt Speaking Of Which.

“Speaking Of Which will run in the Twilight Derby which is a three-year-old race over nine furlongs on the turf and is a Grade Two,” he said.

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