Sea The Stars prevailed in a pulsating renewal of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The first Classic of the Flat season went the way of Ireland for the fourth time in five years - but this time it was John Oxx, and not Aidan O'Brien, claiming the plaudits.

Considered a second-string - albeit a high-class one - at the start of the week behind stablemate Arazan, and thought likely to be at his best when tackling trips in excess of a mile, the Cape Cross colt also showed he has plenty of speed by beating Delegator by a length and a half.

A well-backed 8-1 chance, Sea The Stars is closely related to Derby winner Galileo, and was immediately installed as favourite for this year's Epsom Classic.

Jim Bolger's Gan Amhras took third, with O'Brien's Rip Van Winkle finishing strongly for fourth.

Jamie Spencer looked to have timed things to perfection on 3-1 favourite Delegator after long-time leader Evasive gave way.

But Mick Kinane was always going strongly, and with stamina seemingly not an issue, he was going away at the end.

Giving the veteran Kinane a fourth success in the colts' Classic, and Oxx a first, Sea The Stars' triumph was even more impressive considering he had reportedly not had the smoothest of preparations.

Brian Meehan's Delegator did virtually everything right, while the third and fourth are others bred to be better over further and ran big Derby trials.

Oxx said: ‘He's travelled wonderfully well throughout the race.

‘You could see from a long way out that he was going to make it count.

‘He quickened well into the Dip for a relatively inexperienced horse - the rising ground suited him and he really got home well.

‘Everyone keeps saying he's a Derby horse, thinking he's a half-brother to Galileo, but he is by Cape Cross and shows a lot of speed - I didn't want to miss the Guineas.’

Kinane said: ‘I've had great belief in this horse ever since I sat on him in May last year - for a big, gangly colt he was always going easy and I was always looking forward to the day when he matured and his three-year-old career.

‘He can only improve, we had a few hiccups and we were worried we might be chasing him a bit to get him here. He didn't work that well in midweek on heavy ground but worked great when we got him on a better surface on Thursday and I said we had to be here.’

Looking ahead to Epsom, he added: ‘I don't know if he'll stay but if he does he has all the qualities a top horse has to have. He has a great nature - Epsom won't phase him as an occasion - he going to be a good ride. He's won a Classic trial - there's a shade of doubt with Cape Cross (sire) but everything out of Urban Sea (dam) is stamped with stamina. She should carry him a long way.

‘Arazan was working well too, and if they had both turned up you wouldn't have known which one to ride.

‘But it's a long year, and we were just worried that if he got jarred up it would be the end of his year. He'll have his day.’

Meehan was proud in defeat after Delegator finished second.

‘I'd say the ground was just a little too firm for him,’ reasoned the Manton handler.

‘It hasn't quite happened - but he's run a cracker against two very good horses.

‘It's a bit early to decide where he goes next.’

Bolger will now gear Gan Amhras towards Epsom after his valiant third.

Bolger said: ‘Kevin Manning is certain he'll be suited by going a bit further - that was a Derby trial for him.’

Johnny Murtagh was similarly pleased with the display of Rip Van Winkle, saying: ‘They went very slow early on and when they quickened up, I had to switch him across.

‘He's just been tapped for a little toe, but I'm really happy with the way he's run.’