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Thursday 21 August 2014

Stars' progeny set to shine

Published 21/05/2014 | 16:02

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Sea the Stars

Sea The Stars was arguably the best Flat racehorse ever trained in Ireland and could this weekend record his first Group One winner as a stallion.

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His former trainer John Oxx is not known to exaggerate, quite the opposite in fact.

He was a horse that had everything in terms of looks, ability and outstanding achievement on the racecourse, and much was therefore expected from his first crop of juveniles last season.

They did well enough, but discernible murmurs emerged after a relatively quiet season which yielded a solitary stakes winner courtesy of Group Three C.L. Weld Park Stakes winner My Titania, coincidentally also trained by Oxx and hopefully bound this weekend for the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

However, Sea The Stars also had a host of impressive maiden winners and by the time the sales rolled around, his stock continued to sell exceptionally well, with his yearlings averaging £185,055 and his foals averaging £164,300.

To highlight just how good that was, foals by Europe's leading sire Galileo averaged £234,817 so it was apparent that buyers evidently expected the progeny of Sea The Stars to shine at three.

And shine they have done - after just seven weeks of the Flat season, the buyers appear to have called it right for there is no brighter stallion than the Gilltown Stud-based Sea The Stars at the moment. All of those impressive maiden winners have indeed 'gone on' and he now boasts eighteen individual winners in 2014, and his tally of stakes winners has risen to six.

Sea The Stars rise to prominence as a stallion echoes that of his racing career. As a juvenile, he looked smart winning two of his three races, culminating in a Group Two win and a rating of 112. As a three-year-old, he proved a phenomenal racehorse quietly going about his business and racking up six prestigious Group One wins over six months. When departing the scene, he left with an official rating of 135 following a sensational Arc win.

Having proven himself on the racetrack, comparisons have naturally been drawn between Sea The Stars and Europe's leading stallion, Galileo.

Even at this early stage of the season, the results of Sea The Stars dalliances in the breeding shed read favourably when compared to his illustrious half-brother. Galileo became champion sire for the first time in 2008 and after briefly losing the title in 2009 he has remained at the top of the tree ever since and currently leads the way again for the 2014 season.

Galileo's career took off when his daughter Nightime won the Irish 1000 Guineas and it will be interesting to see whether or not My Titania has recovered from a recent setback in her bid to win the same race for Sea The Stars and thus provide him with his first Classic winner.

On the very same day, Sea The Stars is likely to be represented in the Group One Prix Saint Alary by recent undefeated Group Three winner Variza. Just one week later, he will be represented in the Epsom Oaks by the unbeaten favourite Taghrooda, who could possibly be joined by another of his daughter's in the shape of Cheshire Oaks winner Anipa.

Sea The Stars is also the sire of a second undefeated Classic favourite in the shape of Deutsches (German) Derby hope Sea The Moon. Add in the likes of 1000 Guineas Trial winner Afternoon Sunlight and it looks a matter of time before he bags that all-important first Group One.

Bookmakers and punters certainly think so, and RaceBets go just 4-9 that he does so this year.

This exceptional horse has also recently offered proof that he is not simply a one-dimensional, Classic-type stallion when siring the most exciting juvenile seen in France this year, Sivoliere.

Jean-Claude Roguet's unbeaten two-year-old looks Royal Ascot-bound and will be a force to be reckoned in either the Queen Mary or the Albany Stakes.

Press Association

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