We know Sea The Stars is good - but just how good is he? Rodney Masters canvasses a variety of racing experts in an attempt to evaluate the Guineas and Derby winner's place in the annals of recent turf history.Byline: Rodney Masters
ON ALL available evidence he is the champion without a flaw. Are we therefore guilty of underappreciating the talent of Sea The Stars and denying him the adulation he deserves? Will he eventually become part of racing folklore, the horse of our lifetime, spoken of and remembered with the same reverence as Sea-Bird, Ribot, Nijinsky and Brigadier Gerard? Or, alternatively, is the 2009 Derby winner over-hyped by the media? We asked a number of experts, many of them with decades of experience of the turf, for their views.
Gerald Delamere, Racing Post journalist, who went to school with John Oxx "I admit that I thought the media had rather over-hyped him, but that was before the Eclipse form worked out so perfectly with the subsequent wins for Conduit and Rip Van Winkle.
"Sea The Stars is undoubtedly an exceptional colt and one of his principal assets is the way he travels so smoothly. Many top horses who surge clear in the final furlong to win impressively are inclined to produce a poor run next time because that effort has told on them. I do wonder, however, whether he has had a long enough break; if he runs in the International and Irish Champion Stakes The Irish Champion Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in the Republic of Ireland for three-year-old and above thoroughbreds. It is run over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs (2,012 metres) at Leopardstown Racecourse in September. , I'd want to be against him should connections decide to go for the Arc, even if the ground is right for him at Longchamp.
"Of course, it may well be that he'll miss either York or Leopardstown if the ground is too soft. While I appreciate that Dylan Thomas raced in every one of those races in the six months prior to his win in the Arc, it must be remembered that he was a four-year-old."
Paul Curtis, Racing Post handicapper hand·i·cap·per
n. Sports & Games
1. One who assigns handicaps.
2. One who predicts the winners in a horserace, especially one who publishes such predictions as a guide for bettors.
Noun 1. "In no way do I believe he has been over-hyped. His RPR (Resilient Packet Ring) A packet-based protocol that provides fault tolerance and statistical multiplexing for the metropolitan and national SONET and Ethernet networks of the carriers. is 133, which is a superb figure for a three-year-old at this stage of a season. Usually horses of his generation don't get their top rating until the Arc. Immediately after the Eclipse we had him on 131, but raised that figure following the boost to the form in both the King George and Sussex Stakes. I wouldn't be overkeen on him running in the Arc. I believe the pivotal race will be the Irish Champion Stakes in the rematch with Fame And Glory."
Julian Wilson, journalist and former BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. racing presenter "He's special of course, and on 131 [his BHA BHA butylated hydroxyanisole, an antioxidant used in foods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals that contain fats or oils.
A white, waxy phenolic antioxidant used to preserve fats and oils, especially in foods. rating] he has the rating of a top colt, but he is not yet in the greatest horses league because we haven't seen one of those breathtaking performances where he stretches clear. I remember back in 1989 I had a disagreement with the Irish handicapper because I'd rated Old Vic, who had won the French Derby by seven lengths and the Irish Derby by four, ahead of Nashwan. You could say that Sea The Stars won the Guineas nicely, the Derby cosily and, in the Eclipse, he was all out.
"I believe at the start of the season Michael Kinane would have been more than hopeful the colt was capable of winning six races, with, at that stage, the Arc as the final target, and he has been looking after him with that programme in mind. However, it would be pleasing to see the colt put in a performance, at either York or Leopardstown, where he destroys the field."
Sir Peter O'Sullevan, former journalist and BBC racing commentator "In my excessively long life I've rarely been so enchanted en·chant
tr.v. en·chant·ed, en·chant·ing, en·chants
1. To cast a spell over; bewitch.
2. To attract and delight; entrance. See Synonyms at charm. watching a horse flaunt flaunt
v. flaunt·ed, flaunt·ing, flaunts
1. To exhibit ostentatiously or shamelessly: flaunts his knowledge. See Synonyms at show.
2. his immense talent in such an endearing, unaggressive way. While I appreciate this may sound a little fanciful, over many years I've noticed that some horses tend to reflect the temperament of their trainer; there's a certain empathy, and this is a case in point. I certainly wouldn't say that he has been over-hyped, and he hasn't been overrated. There's just one thing I don't like about him.
His name." Phil Smith, BHA head of handicapping who is responsible for assessing class 1-4 races between 1m2f and 1m4f "His form is there for all to see, and it looks very strong. We're still talking about Nashwan 20 years after he completed the same 2,000 GuineasDerby-Eclipse hat-trick, and we've yet to get to the bottom of Sea The Stars because he tends to just do enough. I'm sure we'll be talking about him 20 years from now with the same reverence as Nashwan. We're very fortunate this year to have, by August, three outstanding three-year-olds in Sea The Stars, Rip Van Winkle and Fame And Glory."
Dave Edwards, Racing Post's Topspeed time expert "Sea The Stars clocked a sensational speed figure in the Eclipse. It was so stunning I double-checked it. That performance - and append any superlative you like alongside it - ranks him up there with the very best. I'd love to see him run in the Arc, where, I believe, it would take an act of God to get him beat. People reckon the ground at Longchamp on the first Sunday in October is invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil soft, or at least on the easy side, but the times rarely substantiate that; it's usually either good or good to firm. One relevant fact remains unanswered about this colt - at this stage we simply don't know how good he is."
Mike Dillon, the long-time face of Ladbrokes "His reputation grows with every race, and I've no doubt the racing world will be talking about him with admiration in 20 years', 30 years' time, and probably beyond. He's the complete racehorse racehorse
refers usually to thoroughbred but may also include standardbred, trotter. in every respect, with the perfect temperament. I've been so impressed by the way he tackles every challenge, be it over a mile or a mile and a half. I remember Vincent O'Brien saying that the best Derby winners could also win the July Cup, and this colt is a case in point. He's the consummate professional, just like his trainer and jockey." Jimmy Lindley, former jockey and BBC racing pundit An expert or knowledgeable person. From "pandit" in Hindi. See guru. "I'd definitely have him in my all-time top ten. Apart from outstanding ability, I've never seen a horse with such a wonderful temperament; in that respect he and his jockey are one of a kind. The colt has been managed most brilliantly by a team who are at the top of their profession. I'd love to see him in the Arc."