Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Racehorses Of The Decade: Sea The Stars

In a new series of articles for the British Horseracing Authority, turf writer Andrew Scott profiles Great Racehorses of the Decade.

In week six, Scott profiles Sea The Stars.


  1. In sheer raw ability Sea the Stars has never equaled the best performances of Sea Bird, or Ribot. Sea Bird vanquished the best big race field ever in the 1965 with unmatched ease which could not be described with a superlative, coming home 6 lengths clear. He defeated great horses like Reliance, the French Derby winner, Diatome and the American Derby winner Tom Rolfe .In the 1956 Arc Ribot morally defeated a strong field by 8-9 lengths. (officially declared as 4 lengths)

    For overall consistency and versatility Sea The Stars has not eqalled the likes of Ribot and Mill Reef who were champions on any type of going and were at their best at 4years.Ribot was unbeaten in 16 starts and won a King George and 2 Arcs when traveling was considered debilitating. His victories ranged from distances from 6 furlongs to 15 furlongs. In 1971 Mill Reef became the only horse ever to capture the Quadruple of the Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes, King George and Arc. Mill Reef was equally effective on soft and form going and may have well won another Arc had he not suffered an accident. Sea the Stars never proved himself in soft going. No horse ever displayed the same consistency as Brigadier Gerard who at one time was unbeaten in 15 consecutive starts. The Brigadier was the greatest ever racehorse over a Mile and was a champion over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half. His only deficiency was that he was not at his best on soft ground.

    Over a mile and a half Sea the Stars has not equaled the best performances of Dancing Brave, Mill Reef or Nijinsky. Dancing Brave’s phenomenal acceleration in the 1986 Arc against one of the greatest fields ever, Mill Reef’s scintillating 6 length King George win and the sheer spectacle of Nijinsky winning the 1970 King George in an exercise canter defeating the previous year’s Epsom Derby winner Blakeney .Dancing Brave faced phenomenal opposition being pitted against stars like Sharastani, Triptych, Shardari, Bering etc,all champions in their own right. Bering was rated amongst the best horses to have raced in France for a long time. Inspite of a spectacular performance in the Arc after hitting the front he did not display the same reserves of Sea Bird, Ribot or Mill Reef.

    Where Sea the Stars stood out was his prowess over the distance of 10 furlongs. His wins in the Eclipse Stakes, Judomonte International and Irish champion Stakes testify this. He also faced some top-class opposition which he treated with disdain revealing devastating acceleration Over a distance of 10 furlongs to me Sea the Stars was 2nd only to the maestro Dubai Millennium.. He conquered class opponents like Rip Van Vinkle, Fame for Glory, Youmzain and Conduit. Inspite of a mile and a half not being his best distance he won the Arc displaying devastating acceleration like a rocket propelling . He is also outstanding statistically as he is the only horse ever to win the 2000 Guineas ,Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes and Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe, which Sea Bird Mill Reef and Nijinsky have failed o achieve.

    Overall to me it is a blatant exaggeration to rate him as the best racehorse of all time or equal to Sea Bird and Ribot.However to me he is still a strong contender for the best flat racehorse Since Sea Bird and is comparable to any of the post-War superstars. In pure raw ability Sea The Stars in my opinion would be only behind Sea Bird, Ribot and arguably Dancing Brave. In Overall ratings combining factors of raw ability with consistency and versatility I would place him behind Sea Bird, Ribot, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard and just marginally above stalwarts like Nijinsky and Dancing Brave. True Sea the Stars had more natural talent but never proved himself as a four year old like Ribot,Mill Reef or Brigadier Gerard.

  2. You are talking nonsense did you see his races? Also what about frankel and black caviar forget about the olden day when horses were beaten with lumps of wood

  3. Uk Mobster,

    That story was written by Andrew Scott for the British Horse Racing Authority.

    1. Unofrtunately the greats failded to achieve classics at a mile mile and a half and a mile and a quarter, 6 group 1s in six months against his own generation, plus the olders in the arc, breaking the 10 year track record at york against the irish guineas winner, a horse he smashed at newmarket, why did it take so long to achieve the guineas,derby,arc, eclipse,judmonte and champion, simple, there have never been a horse good enough.
      Dancing brave failed to win the derby because he lacked the early tactical speed to maintain his position, thats fact, mill reef as brilliant as he was never had the speed to win the guineas, brigadiers carreer was based over a longer term but remeber he was beat by a good, not great derby winner, and as for now, frankel is a miler, thats all he is at this time, his achievements are no more further forward than his guineas win, untill he steps out of the distance and takes on different horses his rating is simply guess work, a great miler maybe but thats all at this time.
      Ribbot, secretariat, sea bird, and of course sea the stars are the best we have seen,
      mill reef , nijinsky, brigadier gerrard, are the all timers, but to say sea the stars does not deserve to be named alongside these greats because he did not go on at 4 is riddiculous,
      read his race record, he had nothing to prove!

  4. Jamie,

    Indeed, Sea The Stars has nothing to prove and I enjoyed watching his run to fame and glory.

    Thank you for following my blog and thanks for the commentary. I always appreciated hearing from my readers.

  5. This is my re-evaluation of this equine superstar.

    This colt blazed the racetrack in 2009 like a comet flashing a light.Arguably Sea the Stars was the most complete and perfect racehorse of all time posessing every component for the perfect thoroughbred-be it speed,stamina,temperament or confirmation.He didn't win nor revealed the finishing burst of Dancing Brave.However none of those champions posessed as many ingredients that comprise the perfect equine thoroughbred as Sea the Stars.Above all none of those superstars equalled Sea the Star's 6 group 1 race wins comprising the 2000 Guineas,Epsom,Derby,Eclipse,Stakes,Judamonte International and Prix del'Arc de Triomphe.He would hit the front with spectacular acceleration combined with the ease of a swan swimming.After hitting the front he would virtually relax,unlike Sea Bird or Ribot.Above all he raced against some of the finest colts like Fame to Glory,Rip Van Winkle,Conduit,Mastercraftsman or Youzmain.Fame to Glory won the Irish Derby while Conduit won the King George.Youzmain wa sthe runner up in 2 previous Arc de Triomphe races.

    He won the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby in Characteristic style.In the Epsom Derby he accelerated in the manner of a boat sailing to cruise home to beat Fame to Glory by 1and 3/4 of a length.In the Eclipse Stakes he superbly thwarted the challenge of Rip Van Winkle.In the Juddamonte International he went into another gear to sweep past Mastercraftsman in the manner of a motor car re-started.In the Irish Champion Stakes he won in spectacular style after being boxed in on the rails.He brilliantly dissected through the field to beat Fame and Glory by 2and a half lengths.Finally in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe he gave the most spectacular turn of foot in his entire career.He was completely boxed 3 furlongs out in in one of the most competitive Arc fields ever containing stars like Cavalryman,Da re mi,mastercraftsman and Youzmain.Like a rocket propelling into the air he blazed through the entire field to win by 2 lengths.It looked virtually an impossible task 3 furlongs out.Sea the Stars pierced through the filed like a huge cake being sliced and won with the glory of a great emperor.From the 300 to 100 metre poles he took out 5 lengths from the leader Youzmaain.Sea Bird eclipsed Sea the Stars in terms of winning distance and Dancing Brave ran after last furlong but both did not equal the kick of Dancing Brave.Above all the Stars clocked 2 mins 26.3 secs,-1.1 secs faster than Dancing Brave.After the race Racing post editor Tony Morris stated that Sea the Stars was arguably on par with Sea Bird or may even have surpassed him and Brough Scott's comments rang similar tones.

    Certain experts like John Randall do not club this great colt with Mill Reef,Sea Bird,Ribot,Dancing Brave or Nijinsky.This,is grossly unfair as it only takes into account statistical evaluations of wining margins.Never forget Sea the Stars ran the fastest time in the Eclipse for 40 years of reliable clocking.Ian Balding rated Sea the Stars even ahead of Mill Reef.On the other hand there are those that rank him even above Sea Bird 11.To me Sea the Stars displayed greater versatality but did not equal sea Bird in the manner he vanquished his opponents nor faced as great opposition.Sea the Stars also did not prove himself on both soft and firm going like Mill Reef and Ribot.However the manner in which the Stars got into gear like a racing car starting surpassed the likes of those champions and he displayed an aura of invinciblity like no other racehorse.To me the 136 rating of Racing Post and the 140 rating of timeform have underestimated this comet who gave the sport of horseracing a much needed revival.To me he should have been awarded atleast 142 by Timeform or maybe even 143.Morally he was arguably the best middle distance European racehorse after Sea Bird and Ribot and the 3rd best British racehorse of all behind Frankel and Brigadier Gerard.Sea the Stars racing as a 4 year old would have been the true test.

  6. Harsh Thakor,

    I, too, enjoyed watching Sea The Stars vanquish his opponents. He was a talented, versatile colt that made one's heart beat faster and called forth cheers of triumph as he stormed down the stretch.

    I agree, it would have been fun to watch him as a 4-year-old.

    Thanks Harsh for your commentary and thanks for following my blog.