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RETIREMENT OF SEA THE STARS
Yesterday’s announcement brings to an end a run which may never be equaled, as Sea the Stars not only became the first in history to record the 2000 Guineas-Derby-Arc treble - Nijinsky narrowly failed at the final hurdle in 1970 - but also took in the three major 10 - furlong, all-aged contests of the summer in the Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes.
John Oxx was left to reflect on a remarkable season later in the afternoon, and found it difficult to single out one of the six achievements as a personal favorite.
“It is hard to say there was any highlight with a horse like that, as they were all major races in their own right,” Oxx added. “When you win a Guineas and a Derby, it becomes even more important for him to win, and as the anxiety builds up as the year goes on, every race brings tremendous relief when it is over. I suppose winning the Derby was marvelous - the way he ran his race there was a joy to watch, with how he handled the track and coasted down the hill before sauntering up the straight waiting to go and win. That was a great sight, and it must be unusual for a trainer to watch his horse in the Derby and feel so comfortable with the way he is going right through the race. After that, he developed a great public following, and everybody quickly realised they were watching something special.
Oxx continued, “There has been great excitement every time from Sandown onwards, and he had a tremendous response from the crowds, and also the wider public towards the end as they realised that there was something special happening.
“In the Arc, I wasn’t as anxious as everyone else was, as although he ran along more strongly in the bridle than most people would like, he could do that and get away with it. I knew he had such a great turn of foot and he could get out of trouble. His success was down to a combination of everything, but mainly to his tremendous cruising speed. Ballydoyle tried their best to put in pacemakers and make it tough for him, but they could never get him off the bridle. He could just travel up behind any pace totally at ease - that’s his big thing - and then quicken up off it. He could do that because he has great heart and lungs, but he’s got this beautiful balance, lovely stride and a great length to him. He’s a big, strong horse – close-coupled in one way, but very long in another and he has this tremendous athletic stride. He also has a great temperament and never worries about anything, was always the calmest horse at the races, and it is courage and temperament at the end of the day that bring the best horses to a different level.”
On top of his unparalleled achievements at three, Sea the Stars also held a commendable record as a juvenile.
While he suffered a sole defeat on his debut when an eye-catching fourth at The Curragh last July, he was off the mark at Leopardstown the following month before registering his first black-type win in The Curragh’s G2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes in September.
Stud arrangements have yet to be set, but there have been suggestions that the Tsuis are keen to stand him at the Irish National Stud. That County Kildare-based operation was the scene of his birth April 6, 2006, and currently houses Urban Sea’s final foal by Invincible Spirit. John Clarke, who is the chief executive of the Irish National Stud, also acts as racing manager to Ling Tsui and her son Christopher.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News