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Stars align for gentleman Oxx to prove that sometimes nice guys do finish first

On March 31, 1979, a 28-year-old neophyte trainer saddled a horse called Orchestra in the Rank Cup at the Phoenix Park racecourse. The horse, owned by Lord Donoughmore who just five years earlier had been kidnapped by the IRA and held hostage for a week, finished first. He was John Oxx’s first winner.

ast forward 30 years. It’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day in Longchamp and Oxx has never been so nervous. Sea The Stars has already won the Derby, the Irish Derby, the Eclipse Stakes, the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes but his trainer feels this is the race that really matters.

“It was extremely anxious for him in the build-up,” Oxx recalled, “We really did not want him to lose. He had to win them all to be one of the greats, he had to. Nijinsky was beaten by an inferior horse in the Arc after winning the Triple Crown and it spoiled the whole thing.”

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