herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Star signs for Oxx

Sea The Stars is a horse that remains prominent in the memories of racegoers because of his unbelievable quality.

It might seem hard to believe but it's three years ago this weekend that Sea The Stars signed off his juvenile season with a win in the Group Two Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.

Sea The Stars didn't wow too many that were thinking ahead to Classics the following season, but what he went on to do the following year is history.

Resemblance

Trainer John Oxx will bid to win the Beresford Stakes for the fourth time, the first since Sea The Stars in 2008, and he will do so on Sunday with a horse who bears resemblance in form lines to Sea The Stars.

Akeed Mofeed is the Oxx representative this year and just like the former stable star, Sea The Stars, he won his maiden having been fourth on his debut.

Now, on his third run, Akeed Mofeed goes after Group success to leave people wondering over the winter if he can follow just some of the footsteps of the great Sea The Stars.

The son of Dubawi is owned by Jaber Abdullah and is a short-priced favourite for Sunday's one-mile contest and couldn't have been more impressive when winning at Leopardstown on Champion Stakes Day.

The form of that run has been boosted since as Athens, the horse who was five lengths adrift, has come out and won his maiden since at Listowel.

On what is a big weekend for Oxx and Johnny Murtagh, Akeed Mofeed will probably have to improve a shade further to win again and standing in their way will be the Ballydoyle powerhouse.

Aidan O'Brien has won this race an incredible 10 times, with St Nicholas Abbey the most recent success back in 2009.

O'Brien has a formidable team again this year and Astrology is an interesting one, but Oxx is as shrewd as they come and few will want to overlook him this weekend.

Indeed, the Curragbeg team begin a frantic weekend at Newmarket tomorrow with Alanza in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes.

The Aga Khan's three-year-old filly is going in search of her fourth win on the bounce and fifth in total as she continues on the upgrade this season.

Alanza faces a big step up to Group One company but under a cool, calm and collected Johnny Murtagh at Doncaster last time, she was impressive, despite the winning margin of only a neck, and the step up to a mile tomorrow will be a huge plus.

Meanwhile, Oxx's other exciting inmate at the moment is, of course, the debutante winner Born To Sea, who is a half-brother to the aforementioned Sea The Stars.

Born To Sea made a winning racecourse debut in the listed Blenheim Stakes and is on course for the Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown late next month.

"I thought he'd run well on his debut, but it was nice to see him do it the way he did," Oxx admitted.

"It's hard to say what his trip is going to be as we don't really have much racecourse evidence to go on."

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