sport

Oxx takes stock of Sharestan

John Oxx is unsure what to expect from the inexperienced Sharestan in the www.thetote.com Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh on Sunday.

The four-year-old was unraced as a juvenile and ran just twice in 2011, making a winning debut at this track before finishing third in a hot event at Fairyhouse.

Oxx said: "He's a horse who has had a long break, but he's been in since Christmas and I think he's fit enough to get started.

"He didn't run as a two-year-old as he suffered an injury and then he only ran twice last year.

"He won at the Curragh and was then third in Fairyhouse, so he had two good runs, but then we put him away again in the autumn as we felt he could do with some more time to strengthen up.

"He's rated 97, which I think is a high enough rating for what he's actually achieved, and he's still inexperienced.

"We'll see how he gets on this weekend but I can see him stretching out over further than a mile in time."

Richard Fahey sends Take It To The Max and Arabian Spirit over from his North Yorkshire base.

Take It To The Max won four times last year, but Paul Hanagan takes the mount of his stable companion.

"We're happy with both of them and we're taking them over there for a bit of nice ground," said Fahey.

"Take It To The Max went up a hell of a lot in the weights last year, but he's in good order.

"It doesn't look like we're going to get softer ground over here, so we'll let him take his chance in Ireland.

"The other horse will like the ground as well. Paul rides him because I decided to claim off Take It To The Max (Lee Topliss)."

Prince Of Fire, turned out a little over a week after finishing third in the Cheltenham Festival charity race, is an interesting contender for Charlie Swan.

"He came out of the Cheltenham race well and I think a mile at the Curragh will suit him better, as he didn't quite get the mile-and-five (furlongs) in the charity race, especially on that slow ground," said Swan.

"The trip on Sunday should suit him well and he has a nice weight on his back.

"He's fit and well and I think he'll run really well."

Tommy Stack has two challengers in Sikara and Parkers Mill.

Sikara ran away with a Cork handicap in October, while Parkers Mill has been sidelined since May.

Fozzy Stack, the trainer's son and assistant, said: "Hopefully they both run OK.

"Sikara is fairly versatile with the ground. It's been a fairly drying week so I'd say it will just be on the slow side.

"The other horse has been off a long time so we're just feeling our way with him."

Ansaab was a winner at Dundalk in October and his trainer, Kevin Prendergast, said: "I think he'll run a good race, but he probably prefers very firm ground.

"We don't want to see any more rain and he'll probably come on for the run, but he seems a nice horse in the making."

Nineteen runners go to post, with Aidan O'Brien's Windsor Palace a fascinating contender.

The seven-year-old was employed as a pacemaker for more illustrious stablemates on his final two starts last year.