Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Racehorses Of The Decade

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

In week eight, Scott profiles The Best of Britain and France.


  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.

  2. Harsh,

    Ribot is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for the comment and checking out my blog.