Tag Archives: Sea The Stars

The QIPCO 2000 Thousand Guineas Stakes (Group 1)

The return of the vanquished-Photo Tony St Ledger-Pattern Racing

Born To Sea and Johnny Murtagh run for John Oxx in the Two Thousand Guineas. Picture by Tony St Ledger for Pattern Racing.com

Soft. This word will dictate this race.

The O’Brien team have already hinted that it may pose a problem for the favourite Camelot. He’s run and won twice both on good ground in the style of a horse who enjoys top of the ground. On both occasions he looked classy especially in the Racing Post.

The truth so far is, he’s beaten nothing.

In his maiden at Leopardstown he beat four home, none of which went on to win a race with the exception of Canary Wharf who picked up a Class 5 Handicap at Wolverhampton at his fifth attempt. He, by the way, is a Ballydoyle reject having being shipped on to Marco Botti in December.

In the Racing Post Trophy Fencing started second favourite to Camelot only to be beaten 2 1/2 L. Today will be his first run since and he’s a 16/1 shot here. Learn, fourth in the race, didn’t frank the form when going to France to be well beaten by French Fifteen in Criterium International the following week while Talwar last in the race did win a listed contest over a mile on the All Weather at Lingfield two weeks ago.

It’s hardly inspiring form for the favourite to win a Guineas.

Speaking of the French challenge, on his comeback run French Fifteen beat Abtaal in the Prix Djebel at Maisions-laffitte with Hermival back in third in April. This was a reverse of the form of the Thomas Byron last October where Abtaal had 3 L to spare on French Fifteen. The Byron form looks more reliable.

The Dewhurst looks like it was a much stronger juvenile contest than the Racing Post. It was won by Parish Hall who scratched at the last declaration stage due to the soft going here. In second was Power beaten half a length who brought a high level of form with him having won the Coventry Stakes, come second in the Phoenix Stakes and won the National Stakes both at the Curragh. In the latter he showed he could handle the soft. Behind him were Most Improved, Bronterre and Trumpet Major. The latter two Richard Hannon colts ran in the Craven and the Greenham with Trumpet Major impressing at Newmarket. The winner of the Greenham was Casper Netscher from Boomerang Bob with Bronterre back in third. The soft ground at Newbury suited Casper as he’d proven he could handle it when landing last years Gimcrack at York.

Top Offer comes with a tall reputation having won his maiden impressing but you would have to be concerned that Roger Charlton pulled him from the Greenham as he didn’t want to run him on the soft, citing it might take too much out of him before today’s contest.

John Oxx only sends a runner to England when he has a great chance of acquitting himself well. Born To See had excuses last time out when second to Nephrite as he pulled up lame having torn a muscle in the race. He handled the yielding surface as did his half brother Sea The Stars early in his career. There’s a quiet confidence emanating from Currabeg.

This could well be a Guineas to saviour.

The class of Camelot may carry him through but if he is undone by the soft going then the same may not apply to his stable companion who could well Power home from Born To See with Abtaal back in third.


The Killavullan Stakes (Group 3)

A last chance to shake up the 2000 Guineas and Derby markets of 2012 before winter sets in comes courtesy of the feature race on Leopardstown’s last flat card.

This race has previously been won by Grey Swallow in 2003 and Footstepsinthesand in 2004 who both went on to record classic successes the following year. The former added the Irish Derby while the latter’s only subsequent run was to win the Newmarket Guineas.

Six line out with the inexperienced being the ones to concentrate on.

Nephrite was an easy winner of a Curragh maiden on good to soft ground. A son of Pivotal, he will surely like the rain softened ground after the deluge which hit Dublin last Monday and he is a real possibility for both the Guineas and the Derby. A good run will push him to prominence in the betting for both. Aidan O’Brien will be well aware the opposition always planned to run their one in this so it is most interesting that he has decided to put it up to them.

And what of the opposition?

The brother as he will become known did it well in a listed contest also at the Curragh when getting the better of Pearl In The Sand, naturally a daughter of Footstepsinthesand. That form reads very well now considering she was second to Crusade, winner of the Middle Park on Future Champions Day on her previous run.

Sea The Stars started in maiden company and the fact that John Oxx started off the brother in a listed race is significant. He knew he would be up to it and up to it he was even though he ran green. He showed a serious turn of foot when pulled out by Johnny Murtagh to easily pull clear in the last furlong. The ground may be a slight concern here but he will most likely have the ability to handle it.

There is a line of form to both horses through Lanette Lady who ran in the listed race when beaten 5 1/4 L and was then beaten 6 3/4 L by Nephrite next time out. This would give the advantage to the Ballydoyle inmate, however that reading would be strictly on the book. It’s value here will be to tell us these are both serious colts.

Mare and Foal at The Irish National Stud- Pattern Racing

Mare and Foal at The Irish National Stud - Is this the future?

Today we should remember a very special mare. We should say a very large and special thank you to her. Urban Sea. An Arc winner herself, she gave us Galileo and if that wasn’t enough she then gave us Sea The Stars. Her last act on earth was to give us one more precious one. Owned by the Tsui family as was his mother and brother this colt by Invincible Spirit was born in the Irish National Stud on the 2nd March 2009. She died a day later. Her already wonderful legacy lives on through her two sons. A third is about to add to that, Born To Sea.


Get excited about Born To See but before you get too excited read the post on the Beresford Stakes. Then get excited about both of them.


Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (Group 2)

The last big one in Ireland carries the status of Group 2. Over the years some of the greatest have won it. Assert, Sadlers Wells, Azamour, Alamshar, Sea The Stars. In the last two years the winners St Nicholas Abbey and Casamento went on to win the Racing Post Trophy. Not a bad roll call eh?

This years renewal promises to unleash a champion of real quality. One whose name will rank along with those above or who may even leave all, yes, all of them in the shade.

The camp responsible are masters of the understated, they know how to keep their feet on the ground, how to manage expectations. Patience, they have it for breakfast, dinner and tea. Hype, they it watch flow down the bowl. Skill to manage the best, they have it in abundance.

This one will require all their experience because after tomorrow we’ll all know.

Think Ferrari. Then add another engine. Think flowing through the gears with consummate ease. Think pace to burn, then add some more. Think balance, stride, athleticism and absolute ability. Think class, pure class. Think excellence.

Think Usain Bolt morphed into Michael Johnson looking like Seb Coe in thoroughbred form.

Then think about it all again and add some more.

Next year the boy will become the man. He’ll go beyond a mile. We won’t know about a mile and half until June 2nd 2012, but you know he will.

The cotton wool will come off briefly tomorrow before returning as a winter blanket. The potential of this one is too much to contemplate for mere mortals. Thank God his trainer isn’t one. There is only one man capable of delivering him.

Think Guineas, Derby, July Cup, The International, Irish Champion Stakes, Arc and Breeders Cup Classic.

Go on John, put the knife in.

Think about you know who’s brother in the box.

Don’t think about his rivals, he won’t.

Think exhilaration plus. Akeed Mofeed.

The Coronation Cup

This is one to relish. Midday and St Nicholas Abbey head a small field supported by Indian Days, Clowance and Dandino.

The latter proved himself a very capable handicapper prior to his step into pattern company. He had a run in the St Leger and then went to the Japan Cup where he was not beaten far. Two wins this season including a Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes brings here in top form. His stable companion Indian Days was four lengths behind is likely to improve on that performance. Clowance defeat of Poet in the St Simon Stakes now looks good after The Brigadier Gerard but a preference for some give in the ground will surely be against her. You would expect these three will play a supporting role in this particular drama where the leading man and the leading lady will take centre stage. Who will command that stage is the question.

Midday’s form has been top class with her own sex. A super win against Snow Fairy at York was last years highlight before being touched off in The Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs . Her comeback in the Middleton Stakes this spring showed her well-being promising another super season in front of her. She’s a winner of five Group 1’s including two Nassau Stakes, a Yorkshire Oaks, a Prix Vermille and a Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita in 2009. Her one blot in the copybook is not taking the honours when meeting the colts. Not that she’s had many opportunities. The only time she ventured out of her own sex was at Epsom in April 2009 when beaten in a listed race by last years Arlington Million winner, Debussy. It’s very interesting that Henry Cecil has chosen to return to the track for another crack at the boys.

St Nicholas Abbey brings an altogether different profile. This fella looked like a natural successor to Sea The Stars, as if you could such a successor, at the beginning of last year. As a two year old his Beresford Stakes win marked him out but his Racing Post win showed us something special. He was installed winter favourite for the Guineas only to flop trailing in sixth. Off course that flop was behind Makfi, Dick Turpin,Canford Cliffs, and Xtention who have since bagged seven Group 1’s over a mile since. Maybe its time to forgive him, though there wasn’t much sympathy for him after failing to sparkle on his comeback at the Curragh in April.

The excitement he generated as a two year old was reiginited in Chester’s Ormonde Stakes. A pulverising preformance when winning by nine lengths looked like he was back to his spectacular two year old days. Lets hope this continues for this lightly raced colt and we see a few more days of his brillance.

Who wins at Epsom today is not the issue. Its the style of the leading man and lady that will set the pulses racing. One to relish all-right.