Sea The Stars secured racing immortality with victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.
Arc glory for Sea The Stars
Sea The Stars secured racing immortality with victory in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp yesterday. The John Oxx-trained colt carved his name into the annals of Turf history with a sixth consecutive Group One triumph. His Group One wins now include the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Coral Eclipse, Juddemont International and Irish Champion Stakes, with the Arc his crowning glory. Godolphin's Cavalryman, trained by Andre Fabre and winner of his last three races, including an Arc trial, ran an outstanding race under Frankie Dettori to claim third. The pair were split by perennial runner-up, Youmzain, trained by Mick Channon, who has now been the bridesmaid at the Arc three years running. He was ridden by comeback jockey, Kieren Fallon. Sea The Stars, whose dam, Urban Sea won this race in 1993, made the win look easy, but the mile-and-a-half was anything but. Perhaps reacting to the big occasion, the son of Cape Cross refused to settle, pulling against Sea The Stars jockey Mick Kinane in the large, 19-runner field. Aidan O'Brien's pacemakers, Grand Ducal and Set Sail built up an eight-length lead at the half-way mark, with the horse they were setting the pace for, Fame and Glory, also settling mid pack. But when the time came to make the move, Sea The Stars, the sixth highest-rated horse in history before his win, found a route through the scrum and when asked to quicken by Kinane, made the rest of the field look as if they were cantering to win by two lengths. Before he even started his three-year-old campaign in 2008, Kinane said Sea The Stars could the best horse he had ridden. After the race yesterday, he looked close to tears. "I've been on some good horses, some great horses in fact," said the man who had run every morning during his winter in Dubai in order to prepare for Sea The Stars' campaign. "But this one is something else - simply magnificent." Oxx, asked if, like everyone else, he had been concerned when his runner was hemmed in on the rail, was breezy. "I wasn't worried," said the Irish trainer. "I knew and Mick knew he had the gears to get himself out of trouble." While there is no guarantee the colt will still be in training next year, for his final run in 2009, the Breeders' Cup could be an option. But his trainer is not committing him to anything yet. "We just take it race by race and he's done a lot this year," said Oxx. "The Breeders' Cup is on November 7 and we will let the dust settle, now's not the time to be making decisions." Sea The Stars' owner, Christopher Tsui, the 27-year-old Hong Kong nightclub owner, may have won the Arc, but the Aga Khan appeared to win everything else, having claimed six races over the two days before the Arc was even run. Cavalryman was not Godolphin's only success story. Ahmed Ajtebi also claimed a third aboard two-year-old Buzzword in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
* PA Sport