John Oxx is relishing the prospect of unleashing Skitter Scatter in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday.
It is 10 years since the Currabeg maestro saddled the great Sea The Stars to win the 2000 Guineas over the Rowley Mile. The son of Cape Cross would go on to earn legendary status by winning another five Group Ones as a three-year-old, including the Derby and the Arc.
Skitter Scatter won her final three starts as a juvenile for Patrick Prendergast – completing her hat-trick with a top-level triumph in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
With Prendergast having subsequently handed in his training licence to join forces with Oxx, Skitter Scatter will this weekend debut for her new trainer, who could not have been happier with his charge after seeing her enjoy a Monday morning canter at the Curragh.
He said: “She’s not big but she’s a nice length, with a good action and she has a good, economical stride.
“When you have good horses, you’re always looking at them wondering why they are good and in her case, she’s not a big, strong athlete that you could pick out from 100 yards, but she has a lot of good qualities.
“She has a grand temperament and a really good attitude. She’s a trier and has a fluency to her stride. She just seems to have ability and they come in all shapes and sizes.”
Oxx insists he has not yet considered race tactics, preferring to concentrate on ensuring his filly arrives at Newmarket at the top of her game.
He added: “You just focus on your horse and the work you’re doing, then the race comes along and we give some thought to it then.
“The jockey will think about it too, but a lot depends at Newmarket on the size of the field and the draw, what’s close to you, what’s too far away from you – they are all big factors in a race.
“It’s been 10 years since Sea The Stars, so it’s nice to be going back there with a horse who has a live chance.”
Skitter Scatter was among 16 fillies to stand their ground at Monday’s confirmation stage.
Aidan O’Brien has four possibles, headed by Rockfel Stakes scorer Just Wonderful, as Ireland’s champion trainer bids to register his fifth win in the race.
“Everything has gone well with Just Wonderful. It’s all systems go so far,” he said.
Fairyland, Fleeting and Hermosa complete the Ballydoyle team.
O’Brien’s son, Joseph, has a strong candidate himself in Iridessa, winner of the Fillies’ Mile in the autumn and third on her reappearance at Leopardstown.
“She’s in good shape and we will see what happens,” he said.
“It’s nice to go there with what we think is a live chance. She is working well and she had a nice run on her first run of the year.
“Hopefully we get a nice draw. We are looking forward to it.”
Sheila Lavery’s Lady Kaya, who had Iridessa back in third when taking the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial, completes the Irish challenge.
The home team is headed by the impressive Nell Gwyn winner Qabala.
Her trainer Roger Varian has also left in Mot Juste, who was runner-up to her stablemate in the Group Three contest over seven furlongs at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
Richard Hannon, who struck with 66-1 outsider Billesdon Brook last year, is represented by Star Terms.
Completing the list are Angel’s Hideaway, Antonia De Vega, Dandhu, Garrel Glen, Iconic Choice and Look Around.