Legendary Irish trainer John Oxx has announced he will retire at the end of the current turf season, bringing an end to a storied career, writes Bradley West.
The 70-year-old is best known for his successes with equine great Sea The Stars,
who won six Group One races in the space of six months in 2009.
But Oxx was more than a one trick pony, also tasting success with the likes of Manntari, Timarida, Ebadiyla, Alamshar, Azamour, Kastoria and Alandi at Group One level, and he
emulated his father (also John Oxx) by becoming Ireland’s champion trainer in 1995.
“In 2021, I will not be renewing my trainer’s licence. It has been my good fortune to have enjoyed a lot of success and trained some great horses,” he said.
am extremely grateful to all the owners who have sent me those horses to train since 1979, to all the great jockeys who rode them and to all the exceptional staff who have worked for us over the last 41 years.
“Over the years and right up to date I have been privileged to have some wonderful owners and I will greatly miss training for them but now is a good time for me to stop.
“My concern at the moment is that our staff can find alternative employment
as our training business will cease at the end of this turf season in November.”
To celebrate Oxx’s career, which began all the way back in 1979, let’s reflect on some of the best horses he worked with.
Sea The Stars
his best, Sea The Stars is regarded by many as one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
In a golden 2009 the Galileo colt reached heights very few others have ever ascended to by fending off all comers in one prestigious race after the other.
The epic campaign took in England, Ireland and France as he won the 2000 Guineas, the Derby and the Eclipse Stakes, becoming the first colt to achieve this treble for two decades.
Not done there, he took the top prize in the International
Stakes, the Irish Champion Stakes and then passed his toughest test of the lot in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and passed with flying colours.
That made him the only horse to ever complete the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and the
Reflecting on that final victory, Oxx has since said: “It was a great performance. Mick [Kinane, jockey] always says he’s never ridden a horse to win a big race like that and then still feel the horse has so much more energy left.”
Few horses have captured the attention of the racing world quite like Sea The Stars and Oxx was there to guide him every step of the way.
The list of fine horses which Oxx trained doesn’t stop there however,
as the Curragh-based trainer also enjoyed wonderful success with Sinndar.
Again, Oxx made the most of a purple patch in 2000 as Aga Khan's Sinndar won the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby, and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
This made the colt the only horse ever to have won that trio of races and at that time also ensured he was one of only three Irish-based horses to have ever won the Arc.
Before 2009 and 2000, Oxx had
His first famous season set the ball rolling for what was to come later as the trainer combined with filly Ridgewood Pearl.
The three-year-old, wearing the colours of her locally-based breeders Sean and Ann Coughlan, won the
Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Coronation Stakes at Ascot, the Prix Du Moulin and the Breeders' Cup Mile during a season in which she won Group One races in four different countries.
The powerful champion horse Azamour was
another Oxx tasted success with.
Continuing the Khan-Oxx association, Azamour won the St. James's Palace Stakes, the Irish Champion Stakes, the Prince of Wales Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2005.
Last but by no means least, Alamshar’s career may have been short but it brought success Oxx’s way.
He won five of his nine career races between September 2002 and September 2003 and most famously overcame
chronic injury problems to win the Irish Derby in 2003 and the midsummer showpiece, the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.