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Wave's just swell; St Leger is next for Godolphin's record-breaking Voltigeur winner.

SEA WAVE, a brother to Derby runner-up Tamure, galloped his way into classic contention with an outstanding performance to win the Stakis Casinos Great Voltigeur Stakes in record time at York yesterday, writes Colin Russell.

Less than half an hour after Faithful Son had certain victory transformed into the narrowest of defeats in the Juddmonte International Stakes, Sea Wave's win was fine compensation for the Godolphin team, which seems only to have to wave its wand in order to produce another top-class performer out of its remarkable hat of equine talent.

On the evidence of this run, Sea Wave certainly is top class, and he looks sure to get the chance to prove it in next month's Pertemps St Leger in which the men from Dubai could be three-handed.

"The St Leger is his target," announced Simon Crisford after the son of Sadler's Wells had stormed home from Rabah.

"But we also have Nedawi and Central Park in the race. We might be three- handed, but we'll stack the cards up, and make a final deal nearer the time."

Once considered a Derby candidate, Sea Wave would not have been an obvious choice as a likely St Leger winner, certainly not to the majority of punters.

He had run only four times, had never run in Group or Listed company, and from his campaign-success in a maiden at Lingfield leading on to an easy victory in conditions event at Leicester-he looked more of an understudy than a leading player in the Godolphin cast.

However, turned out looking an absolute picture by Saeed bin Suroor and his staff, in a few devastating strides, he became an instant St Leger candidate.

In a race run at a true gallop set by the gallant Rabah, he was always going really well, and it was apparent from some considerable way out that he was going to win.

Sent on two furlongs out, in a few strides he was clear and, with Frankie Dettori taking the liberty of a patting him down the neck, he cruised home. The distance was four lengths, the time was 2m 25.12s, more than half a second faster that the previous track best recorded by that grand little filly Diminuendo on similarly fast ground in the 1988 Yorkshire Oaks.

"We were hopeful that he would run well," admitted Crisford, adding, "but he hadn't run on fast ground before, although he had worked well on it at home."

Although the major bookmaking firms were reluctant to make a book on the final Classic fearing, rightly as it seems, a Godolphin monopoly, they have already priced up the more-open looking Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

By introducing Sea Wave at 14-1, Corals were not instantly bombarded. Less so Hills at 12-1.

Swain looks Godolphin's number one choice for Longchamp at present, but a St Leger win for Sea Wave could well lead to loftier targets.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 19, 1998
Previous Article:Hands and heels for the killer Punch.
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