Oxx keeping close eye on going
Last Updated: 23/05/14 3:45pm
John Oxx is praying the rain stays away from the Curragh to allow My Titania to get her shot at Classic glory in Sunday's Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas.
The three-year-old is a daughter of the incredible Sea The Stars and as she also carries the same colours of Oxx's horse of a lifetime, those of owner Christopher Tsui, she has unsurprisingly attracted plenty of attention since day one.
She has done the business on the racecourse so far, winning two of her three juvenile starts including the Group Three C.L. Weld Park Stakes, but was a late withdrawal from the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month following an unsatisfactory scope just days before the race.
Oxx has nursed his filly back to full health in time for this weekend's Group One assignment, but warns she will only line up if there is no deterioration in ground conditions.
Oxx said: "We've declared and we're happy to run on yielding ground, which is what they're describing it as at the moment, but it isn't ideal.
"We'd prefer good ground or faster, but having already missed Newmarket we're anxious enough to get her out if we can.
"If she doesn't run on Sunday it will probably leave us having to take on Ascot without having had a run, which obviously wouldn't be ideal.
"I wouldn't advise anybody to back her at this stage as if the ground is soft or even yielding to soft we probably won't run."
Largely based on her reputation and her breeding, My Titania finds herself towards the head of the betting for the mile contest, but Oxx feels she may have her work cut out.
He said: "You'd have to say the odds are against her even if she does run. She'll be taking on fillies who have had a run on ground that won't be ideal for her.
"She's won a Group Three, but she's unproven a Group One level and she's going to need to step up.
"We're quite happy with her at home. After the problem we had before Newmarket you'd always prefer four weeks rather than three weeks, but unfortunately I don't think they'll put the Guineas back for me!
"She's made a good recovery and she's ready to run, so we'll see what happens."
Dermot Weld has been firing in the winners with regularity all season and saddles Khalid Abdullah-owned duo Tested and Vote Often.
"Tested is progressive but both of them are biggish prices, so they are outsiders. We must be realistic - they've got to step up to be in the first four," Weld told At The Races.
"I think the step up in trip will suit Tested, a mile shouldn't be a problem. With her I don't want to see any more rain as she's a good-actioned filly. She's a lovely filly to train and I expect a very good run from her.
"They both have good form. Tested is unbeaten, while Vote Often has run three times and won twice and won her Group race.
"It will depend on the ground, who knows how much rain we'll have had by Sunday late-afternoon? Vote Often loves soft ground. Tested has more pace on good or good to firm, but on soft Vote Often will come into her own."
Narrow runner-up in the English Guineas was Lightning Thunder, who so very nearly gave fledgling trainer Olly Stevens by far the biggest day of his career.
Stevens had to decide whether to travel to Ireland or wait for Royal Ascot.
"She's going to fly out on the morning of the race and a final decision will be made on Sunday morning when we walk the course," said Stevens.
"If it's yielding we'll go for it, but if it's an extreme we'll take care of her and go for the Coronation.
"I didn't think she'd have come on since the Guineas, but in her last piece of work, which was last week, she looked to have come on a little bit. We would hope she'd run either the same or better."
Aidan O'Brien ran two fillies in the English Guineas, Bracelet and Tapestry, and both were well beaten.
This time he runs three with Joseph O'Brien on Palace, Ryan Moore on Marvellous and Seamie Heffernan partnering Wonderfully.