Thursday, October 8, 2009

Contributor Rebecca Guinness reflects on the great horse 'Sea the Stars'

I witnessed the crowning of a great champion last Sunday on a small screen in a field in Westmeath, Ireland. The runners for the next race at the Point to Point circled the paddock unnoticed as all of Ireland (and most of England I should think) stopped dead to watch The Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe in Longchamp and Sea the Stars do what no other horse has ever done - win a sweep of 6 Group 1 races including the Derby, the 2000 Guineas as well as the great French race. For the owner Christopher Tsui who had been given the horse by his parents to encourage his enthusiasm for racing it must have been like writing his masterpiece with his first breath. His father, Hong Kong based businessman David Tsui had tasted the same glory with his dam Urban Sea in 1993 who was also the mother of the great 2001 Derby winner Galileo.

Anyone who watched the race must have felt their pulse quicken as they watched Sea the Stars seemingly trapped behind the pacemakers as they entered the final straight with the filly Stacelita making a break for the lead but suddenly his 50 year old jockey Mick Kinane, who by his own admission wouldn't still be riding had this horse not come along, saw the gap he was looking for and strode forward showing an incredible change in pace. As his trainer John Oxx commented "Mick would not panic because this horse has the gears”. After the race it was interesting to note that the owner’s nationality was overlooked and it was the Irish National Anthem that was played – fitting I suppose since it was after all a very Irish victory with the horse, trainer and jockey all hailing from the emerald isle.

The next decision for the team is whether they will take him to California in November for the Breeder’s Cup. To prove himself against the best that the US has to offer would surely make him the horse of the century and reinvigorate the enthusiasm of race goers all around the world. I for one would be on the stands of Santa Anita cheering on this “perfection in equine form”.