Akeed Wafi can deliver for Oxx
JOHN OXX may have a high-profile engagement at Royal Ascot this afternoon, but he is also likely to play a key role in proceedings at Leopardstown's more modest fixture tonight.
The unassuming Currabeg handler has just three runners on the card, all of which are of interest for one reason or another.
Of the seven runners in the €40,000 Glencairn Stakes, he saddles the two most intriguing contenders in Akeed Wafi and Takar.
Both are three-year-olds that boast Classic form of a sort, with Takar beaten less than five lengths on unsuitably fast going in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Akeed Wafi, which Niall McCullagh takes over as a result of Johnny Murtagh's association with Takar's owner the Aga Khan, finished an encouraging second to Furner's Green over course and distance in April, form that was franked by the winner's luckless third in the French 2,000 Guineas.
With the ground likely to ride on the soft side, Takar, officially rated three pounds superior, may well be more favoured by conditions.
However, on just his fourth start, last season's Gowran Park scorer Akeed Wafi strikes as the sort with plenty more to give, he gets three pounds and more from the field, and is fancied to deliver his trainer a second successive win in the Listed contest following Creekside's triumph in 2011.
Sharkayla, Oxx's other runner, is worthy of consideration in the juvenile maiden, principally because Harasiya, the stable's only other two-year-old runner this year, won so impressively here last week.
That said, Aidan O'Brien's Pedro The Great didn't shape without some promise when fifth to none other than Dawn Approach in a Naas Listed race on his debut, so the exquisitely-bred Henrythenavigator colt might be the one here under Seamie Heffernan.
In the subsequent handicap, Harry Rogers' course specialist Strandfield Lady has a decent chance of following up last week's ready victory under a five-pound penalty, while Suehail gets the nod to atone for her narrow defeat at Killarney in the Frank and Walters Handicap.
David Marnane's Fergal Lynch-ridden colt is lightly raced and seemingly very progressive.