John Oxx – a trainer nonpareil
Mike Deasy, sitting in for Gary McKenzie, says racing won’t be the same without John Oxx’s name on the racecard – a trainer nonpareil
The final weeks of John Oxx’s training career are counting down since he announced he’ll not be renewing his licence for 2021.
Needless to say, the tributes poured in for the 70-year-old trainer with 33 Group 1 wins to his credit.
Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “John has been a wonderful ambassador for our industry and our country. Always a gentleman to deal with and generous with his time and knowledge. Truly the end of an era.”
Johnny Murtagh, who was 15 when he joined Oxx as an apprentice said: “John was a real professional and a real gentleman. He never once lost his temper with me.
“When you leave home at 15, you need someone to look after you and that’s what John and Catriona [Oxx’s wife] did. They looked after me so, so well. I served my apprenticeship there and became first jockey in 1991. We had some amazing days together.”
In amongst those 33 Group 1 races are no less than six won by Sea The Stars who, in the 2009 season, took the 2000 Guineas, Derby, Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Things have been a bit quieter at his County Kildare yard the past few seasons and Oxx said: “You obviously don’t make these sort of decisions on the spur of the moment so it’s been on our minds for a few years, but we just felt the time was right now.
“I have no regrets; we have had some wonderful times. We were very, very lucky to have some very good owners and some very good horses over the years.”
For racing, not just in Ireland, it is the end of an era. John Oxx is a trainer nonpareil, with two wins in the Derby at Epsom, two in the Irish Derby and two successes in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, to mention just a few.
It comes as a bit of jolt to know his name won’t be on the racecard next year, where it has appeared since he first took out a trainer’s licence in 1979, taking over from his father, John Oxx Snr.
The turf has been blessed with his presence ever since.
It feels a tad too early for The Racing Hub to be making its pick of the best from the Injured Jockeys Association Shop four our Christmas Gift Guide – it’ll appear in a couple of weeks.
But, meanwhile, let me point you in the direction of a worthy and necessary item on offer – the IJF’s face mask.
It features their stylish ‘Jockey Silks’ design and logo, and has Internal adjustable nose bar and adjustable elastic ear loops.
It’s made of a polyester outer, 100% cotton inner layer, skin friendly cotton, micro fibre, 5-layer protection with 2 x KN95 filter, with polyester outer. For the price of £10 it comes with two filters.
Visit https://shop.ijf.org.uk/adjustable-face-mask/p/299 to see more and place your order
Stacking up the points
It’s been a topsy-turvy Flat season but, in the Tote’s Horses to Follow competition, Teleprompter 1 has been ever-present on the leaderboard and took the honours with 798.44 points, just ahead of Boaty 36 on 793.32 points.
Whistlejacket took The Racing Hub honours with a decent tally of 527.08 points and managed to score not only from his final stable of 10 but also from the two runners he jettisoned:
- Anthony Van Dyck: 26.60
- Battaash: 102.22
- Enable: 81.42
- Fancy Blue: 1.02
- Hello Youmzain: 64.25
- Ghaiyyath: 56.32
- Kameko: 24.00
- Logician: 11.10
- One Master: 53.25
- Stradivarius: 81.40
- Terebellum: 13.95 (discarded)
- Wichita: 1.55 (discarded)
In the final few weeks, he extended his lead over The Racing Hub Verdict who finished on 477.87, and Gary McKenzie made a late spurt with Sottsass who added 62.10 points to put him on 444.20.
Now for the jumps.
The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus but pubs in London’s Bayswater/Paddington areas were hoping an annual event would help claw back some of the lost revenue.
Sadly, their hopes have been dashed as the Horserace Writers and Photographers’ Association annual awards lunch, usually held at the nearby Royal Lancaster Hotel, has been cancelled and 600 thirsty racing hacks will not be seeking post-prandial refreshments.
Like pubs near Cheltenham, Twickenham or Lords who rely on thirsty spectators, the bars of London W2 would have been kept busy until closing time.