Thursday 23 November 2017

Born To Sea has pedigree to take over Star billing for Oxx

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

John Oxx's Born To Sea, a three-parts brother to the handler's brilliant 2009 champion Sea The Stars has been installed as the 8/11 favourite for tomorrow's JRA Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown by Paddy Power.

The same firm make the Invincible Spirit colt joint-favourite with Camelot at 6/1 to emulate his sibling in next year's 2,000 Guineas.

Of course, the last horse to win tomorrow's Group Three before following up at Newmarket in May was Footstepsinthesand for Camelot's trainer Aidan O'Brien in 2004, and the Ballydoyle maestro is typically well represented in this seven-runner renewal.

He saddles three in the seven-furlong feature, with his son Joseph's mount Nephrite the pick. An emphatic winner at The Curragh last month, Nephrite could be anything, but Born To Sea's debut turn at the same track sets the standard right now.

With Oxx's hand forced due to a lack of suitable opportunities, a Listed race was Born To Sea's first racecourse assignment, one that he came through in taking fashion under Johnny Murtagh. If he progresses, he should win again.

Murtagh is also the man aboard tomorrow's nap selection Shela House in the concluding 12-furlong handicap. While this appears to be wide-open with 13 runners, a large portion of the field come here on the back of a long campaign.

Shela House, representing Jim Culloty, didn't make his seasonal bow until the end of June, and has run just six times, after missing out all of last year. He has been running into form though, finishing a close third at Navan on his penultimate start, before then keeping on to be fifth at Naas.

He has since been dropped a pound to a mark of 78, four pounds lower than the rating he won off in heavy going at The Curragh in 2009. With the title-chasing Murtagh up for a first time now, Shela House could be hard to beat.

In the preceding mile handicap, the irrepressible Fred Fenster will endeavour to complete a quick hat-trick under Joseph O'Brien. With 20 runners, this apprentices' race is a minefield, but Eddie Lynam's improving three-year-old is a horse to keep on side for now.

Earlier, the game Famous Name can round off his year for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen by taking the Trigo Stakes for a second year in row, while Madam Bovary is the pick on a slightly less glamorous programme over the sticks at Wexford.

Having cantered up at Cork on her latest start in April, Apalachicola is feared for Eugene O'Sullivan and Alan Crowe in this. Nonetheless, Madam Bovary has impressed in landing a bumper and a maiden hurdle on her last two starts.

Walsh might also take the opener on Savello, though Raptor, his mount for Willie Mullins in the beginners' chase, is passed over in favour of Donnas Palm.

Irish Independent

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