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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Oyster king Oxx seeking seventh success in 15 years with Red Stars

Airlie Beach and Danny Mullins win the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
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Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes
4.35 Galway 
1m4f, Listed, 3yo+ 
Going: Soft, heavy in places 
Weather: Dry with some sunshine

John Oxx knows what it takes to land this Listed prize. He has won it six times since 2002, most recently with Tarana in 2014, and relies on Red Stars this time. 

Red Stars has not been setting the world alight this season, with form figures of 469 nothing to get excited about. She is, however, the highest-rated runner in the line-up with a mark of 98 and her two wins to date have been on yielding ground and a heavy surface at Roscommon last July, so conditions should be right up her street. 

She returns from a 93-day break and Oxx will be hoping his patience pays off in this lucrative event, which is worth €29,500 to the winner. 

Dermot Weld has won this for the last two years on the trot, Zhukova (2015) and Almela (2016), but he has no runner on this occasion so Pat Smullen will be on the Grade 1-winning hurdler Airlie Beach, who was a fine third in the Guinness Galway Hurdle last month. 

Aidan O'Brien, who was last successful with Chamonix in 2012, is doubly-represented with Pavlenko and Pocketfullofdreams, the last-named turned out again uickly having run at Gowran Park on Saturday.

Final splash for Beach 

Airlie Beach, winner of the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle in 2016 and third in the Guinness Galway Hurdle last month, is making her last racecourse appearance. She is in foal to Mount Nelson. Her CV includes a bumper win, six victories over hurdles and a Flat maiden success at Tramore. She is rated 144 over hurdles and has won €176,625in prize-money so far. 

Pearl sparkling

Pearl Of The West was a five-time maiden rated just 76 when she arrived at Gowran Park in July. Two wins and a second later and she finds herself rated 90 and in with a big shout of securing some black type. It has been a terrific three months for the rapidly-improving three-year-old filly.

What they say

Willie Mullins, trainer of Airlie Beach 
It's definitely her last run and it would be great to get her placed in a race like this. She really likes Galway and the ground has come right for her, so I'd like to think she can run well. It would be great to go out on a high.

John Oxx, trainer of Red Stars 
This has been a lucky race for me and I hope it continues to be lucky! She was disappointing in the early part of the season so we decided to give her a break and bring her back on some softer ground. We are just holding our breath and hoping that she will manage to rediscover her form from last season, so fingers crossed.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Pavlenko and Pocketfullofdreams 
Pocketfullofdreams ran at Gowran Park on Saturday but she has come out of the race well and we feel this sort of test over further will suit her more. She has coped fine with this type of ground in the past. The better the ground, the better chance that Pavlenko has I would imagine.

Pat Fahy, trainer of Pearl Of The West 
She has proved that she likes Galway and hopefully she will keep liking it! Her preparation for this has gone very well and the ground is drying out nicely for her. We are very happy with her. She's an improving filly at the top of her game.

High End Yarmouth festival kicks off

The Eastern festival – the best three days of racing at Yarmouth –kicks off with Saeed Bin Suroor’s High End putting his unbeaten record on the line in the £24,100 feature over 1m3½f (3.05).

The three-time winner was unraced last year and not seen until July, but he has been making up for lost time and earned a Racing Post Rating of 103 for his last win off a mark of 89. Another win here, off 97, and this will be the last handicap he runs in for a while.

Take a chance at Newcastle

Chancery’s is a racing life well lived. On just his second start he chased home The New One in a New Year’s Day bumper at Cheltenham. Since then he has switched to the Flat and finished third, beaten just a length and a quarter by Sheikhzayedroad, in a Listed race at Newmarket, run in Old Borough Cups and Cambridgeshires, and visited York – where half of his six career Flat wins have come – 18 times.

Now he is at Newcastle, for a 1m4½f 0-85 handicap (5.40), racing off a mark of 79 – he has won off a higher mark on five occasions. The last of those was in 2015 and he deserves another success.

This has been a lucky race for me and I hope it continues to be lucky!
E.W. Terms
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