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Sea The Stars unlikely for the Breeders’ Cup
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Six Group One wins, gained from a mile to a mile and a half, and at six different venues, in three different countries.

Yes, with a record like this, Sea The Stars would be the top name at this year’s Breeders’ Cup in Califiornia. If he does make the journey, all the way from his base in Ireland to Santa Anita, it will be to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) - but such a finale to his career is highly unlikely, writes Geir Stabell.

Clearly an exceptional horse, one of those we will never know exactly how good he was, the son of Cape Cross would fit in well in the BC Classic, won by the English trained Raven’s Pass last year. Sea The Stars is a better horse than Raven’ Pass was and the home team does not seem much stronger this time around than it was twelve months ago. So it may seem like common sense to send Sea The Stars to Santa Anita, where he would be an overwehelming favourite for the biggest race of them all. The fact that the Breeders’ Cup is run at Santa Anita, over the Pro-Ride track, should also appeal. If the race had been on dirt, one might not be so keen, some will say. Then again, if a horse wins championship races on turf and dirt it does enhance his stud value. Is that also the case for a horse who wins at the top level both on turf and artificial surfaces? Probably not. In that respect, winning a Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt might be seen as a much bigger ‘bonus’ to the connections of the European champion. Having produced brilliant performances over six so different courses in England, Ireland and France, there is every chance that he would handle dirt racing also.

However, that is not the issue here. The issue is, should he be sent to sunny California for a run there in November, on the back of a busy campaign that has allowed him little or no rest since April? Forget about the lure of the purse as, for a change, that makes little difference to the connections. Sea The Stars is now such a valuable stallion prospect, another million or three on his bankroll becomes almost trivial. In fact, there may be a lot more to lose by asking him for one more run. There is also a certain, albeit small, risk involved in shipping of horses, and that will have to be taken into consideration, but the main two factors are these; the timing and the climate.

Sea The Stars had already begun the process of growing his winter coat when he ran at Longchamp last weekend, which is early but still quite normal for horses in Europe at this time of the year. This process will continue in coming weeks, and it is far from ideal when we are talking about a horse that may be running in California. The climate will be totally different to what he has become used to in Ireland, where the past year has been incredibly wet and dull. Meeting such a ‘climate change’ does not necessarily have a negative effect on thoroughbreds, but it has been a contributing factor to below par efforts for quite a few Europeans that have visited Califiornia, and Florida, for the Breeders’ Cup over the years. Remember, this was where Dancing Brave could manage only fourth in the Turf back in 1986. He is one the few great champions Sea The Stars is now being compared with.

Trainer John Oxx has already hinted, no make that ‘more than hinted’, at which way he is leaning in this matter. He is not keen on a trip to the Breeders’ Cup. Jockey Mick Kinane’s comments after the Arc also indicated that he was against the idea of running in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) – financially rewarding as it may be. Remember, these are not greedy men. To Oxx and Kinane it is far more important to do right by the horse, and owner Christopher Tsui will be taking their advice. As he has been doing so successfully ever since this colt first set foot on a racecourse. That is almost 15 months ago, when Sea The Stars finished fourth to Driving Snow in a Curragh maiden. He has since raced eight times, won eight times, written racing history and earned 4,4 million pounds ($7 million). It is my guess that this figure will be the bottom line for Sea The Stars the racehorse. I would be very surprised if he were to turn up at Santa Anita on November 7.

Geir Stabell

Last update: 2009-10-06 02:22:11 (First published: 2009-10-06 02:19:32 )

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