DUBAI // Racing fans may be disappointed that six-time Group One winner Sea the Stars will not remain in training to contest a four-year-old season, but Dubai handler Erwan Charpy understands why his connections decided to retire the record-breaking colt. In his 15-month career Sea the Stars brushed aside the best that Aidan O'Brien, master of super stable Ballydoyle, could throw at him and triumphed over his peers and older horses.
His presence and maturity have been remarked upon by many, not least his jockey Mick Kinane and trainer John Oxx, while his unflappable consistency made him a fans' favourite. Sea the Stars became the first horse since Nashwan 20 years ago to complete the 2,000 Guineas-Derby double, beating the now-Godolphin owned Delegator and O'Brien's Fame and Glory respectively in those contests. He went on to win the Coral Eclipse over another Ballydoyle charge, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes-winner Rip van Winkle, and the Juddmonte International from yet another O'Brien inmate, Mastercraftsman.
Fame and Glory came up short against the peerless colt once again in the Irish Champion Stakes and Sea the Stars took on and beat Europe's finest the hard way in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. "What else does he have to achieve? He's beaten everyone and had a hard season," said French handler Charpy. "And these champions are so valuable you can understand where his connections are coming from. "He is such a cool horse. I watched him in the Arc and he got himself into all sorts of trouble and just accelerated out of it.
"I was there when his dam won the Arc. I remember her well. She was small with big, ugly ankles and a coarse, dull coat and you wouldn't have given anything for her. "But she was good enough and she and Cape Cross produced a son who was even better." The racing world will watch with interest as Sea the Stars stands at stud to see whether he can become a champion off the track as well as on it. "He is on course to be one of the highest-charging stallions in the world," said Charpy.
"His owners would have had more to lose than to win by allowing him to remain in training." There is regret, however, that the son of Cape Cross and the Arc-winning mare, Urban Sea, will never race again. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org