PARIS, (Reuters) – Sea The Stars, ridden by Mick Kinane, swept to a majestic victory in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe yesterday to be crowned Europe’s champion racehorse.
The 4-6 favourite raced home in spectacular fashion for Irish trainer John Oxx, bursting through on the inside for an effortless two-length victory over 20-1 chance Youmzain, runner-up for the third year in succession.
Frankie Dettori’s mount Cavalryman (12-1) was third of the 19 runners with Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Conduit (8-1) fourth.
Winning his sixth Group One race in a row, Sea The Stars triumphantly showed himself right up there with Ribot, Sea Bird II and Mill Reef as one of the great Arc victors.
Soft-spoken Oxx was almost lost for words after this latest success.
“He is exceptional,” Oxx said as excited Longchamp racegoers, who had applauded his horse into the parade ring, gave the handsome colt a standing ovation after his victory. “He is a great horse to keep winning all these races.”
“No horse in any race has the speed he has,” Oxx said of the champion who must mow rank as the world’s top rated performer.
Kinane had to restrain Sea The Stars early on and then negotiated a perfect run up the straight as the two pacemakers for Aidan O’Brien’s big hope Fame And Glory quickly relinquished a 10-length lead.
Once Kinane pushed the button, the reaction was electrifying with Sea The Stars racing past French hope Stacelita and easily holding off late surges by Youmzain and the rest, including Fame And Glory who came home sixth.
Kinane said: “He was the fastest horse in the race. His acceleration is fantastic.”
Trainer Mick Channon, the former England soccer international, was full of admiration for the winner even though his horse Youmzain had to settle for second best once more, despite the assistance this year of Kieren Fallon in the saddle.
“What a champion,” Channon said. “We are delighted but gutted … again.”
For ice-cool big race specialist Kinane, it was his third victory in the Arc. He won Europe’s middle-distance championship 20 years ago on Carroll House and 10 years ago aboard Montjeu.
At the age of 50, his riding skills showed no signs of dimming aboard Epsom Derby winner Sea The Stars.
Kinane said quite simply: “He’s given me a new lease of life.”
For trainer Oxx, the “Quiet Man” of Irish racing, it was his second Arc victory after Sinndar’s triumph in 2000.
He has been hailed for his masterly handling of Sea The Stars, keeping the colt fresh and keen throughout a glorious campaign starting in May with his English 2,000 Guineas victory.
Oxx refused to be tied down on whether his champion would wind up his career with a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita next month, telling reporters: “Let the dust settle first.”
Bookmakers, anticipating the horse might take his chance, cut the colt’s odds from 9-4 to 4-6.
Sea The Stars is raced by Hong Kong nightclub owner Chris Tsui whose father David won the 1993 Arc with Urban Sea, dam of Sea The Stars.