/ Racing

Oxx confirms Stars' retirement

Updated: Tuesday, 13 Oct 2009 20:16

Mick Kinane aboard Sea The Stars after their victory in the Longchamp highlight Sea The Stars moves clear of Fame And Glory en route to victory in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September
Mick Kinane aboard Sea The Stars after their victory in the Longchamp highlight Sea The Stars moves clear of Fame And Glory en route to victory in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in September

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John Oxx speaks about the decision to retire Sea The Stars

Sea The Stars, the first horse in history to win the 2000 Guineas, Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in the same season, has been retired.

The brilliant colt will not be afforded the opportunity to shine at next month's Breeders' Cup meeting in California after trainer John Oxx confirmed this afternoon to RTÉ Sport that the all-conquering colt had run his last race.

The handler had hinted that a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Classic on 7 November was unlikely after an arduous season.

The son of Cape Cross has proven unbeatable this year over trips ranging from a mile to a mile-and-a-half.

His six-race Group 1 haul kicked off with victory in the Stan James 2000 Guineas at the start of May.

It culminated in an emphatic victory in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp earlier this month, where Sea The Stars emulated his mother, Urban Sea, in claiming Europe's most prestigious middle-distance race.

That gave way to an outpouring of public emotion and resulted in scenes rarely witnessed at a Flat meeting.

Along the way, the three-year-old took in the Epsom Derby, the Eclipse, the International and the Irish Champion Stakes to secure his place in the pantheon of racing greats.

Sea The Stars made his racecourse debut in July 2008 when finishing fourth in a Curragh maiden. That was to prove the only defeat of the future superstar's career.

He lost his maiden tag on his next start a month later at Leopardstown, before accounting for stablemate Mourayan in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his final outing as a juvenile.

The rest is history!

Connections of his vanquished rivals may shed few tears at today's announcement, but the majority of racing fans will be left with a void that will surely prove difficult to fill.

The chance to see the apple of Mick Kinane's eye one last time at the self-proclaimed World Championships of racing that is the Breeders' Cup was something all fans of the sport were eagerly anticipitaing.

California dreaming, on a winter's day, and a dream that will now go unrealised.

The Santa Anita showpiece would have held little fear for Sea The Stars.

Run over what most experts agree was his optimum trip of 10 furlongs, the Pro-Ride all-weather surface has proven easy to handle for turf performers.

Last season's Classic fell to the John Gosden-trained Raven's Pass, while Aidan O'Brien's Henrythenavigator filled the runner-up spot. Curlin, the world's highest rated horse in training at the time, could finish only fourth.

The failure of dirt horses to handle all-weather surfaces (or 'synthetics', as Americans would have us call them) has caused much consternation Stateside.

This year's US challenge looks decidedly weak. Zenyatta, an unbeaten filly, but a filly who has never ran against the opposite sex, has been touted as the best hope of the home contingent by most pundits.

Ballydoyle's Rip Van Winkle now heads antepost lists for the Classic at around the 2-1 mark. The fact that Aidan O'Brien's charge attempted to lower the colours of Sea The Stars on three occasions, and three times failed, is an irony that will be lost on few.