Throwback Tuesday – Sea The Stars Wins the 2009 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

With less than 2 weeks to go, before the 2016 renewal of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, we are going to look back at one of the most memorable races of recent years.

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The 2009 field was superb and horses seen as having a genuine chance included Fame And Glory, Conduit and Cavalryman. They would all have to beat the outstanding 3-year-old of that campaign, however – John Oxx’s Sea The Stars.

After failing to win on debut at the Curragh, Sea The Stars put that right at Leopardstown next time out and then won the G2 Beresford Stakes at the expense of Mourayan. But nobody could have predicted the impact this horse would make, in his Classic campaign.

Victory in the 2,000 Guineas was followed by wins in the Epsom Derby, the Eclipse Stakes, the International Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes. Unsurprisingly, Sea The Stars began the 2009 Arc as the odds-on favourite.

The ground at Longchamp was good and the runners got away to a relatively even break. Stacelita immediately took the lead, with Set Sail, Dar Re Mi and Vision D’etat also prominent. Sea The Stars quickly found a handy position, in 5th and just one off the rail. Cavalryman raced about 8th or 9th, but was forced to travel wide. Conduit was in the main bunch, with Fame And Glory further behind.

RaceBets Horse Race Betting from 40 countriesAfter the first half mile, the unfancied Set Sail began to draw clear and Sea The Stars appeared to have slipped back a few places and now found himself in a spot where traffic problems could easily become a concern.

They began to round the bend and Set Sail was clearly getting away from them. Only Grand Ducal seemed interested in going after Aidan O’Brien’s colt and there were at least 10 lengths between Grand Ducal and Stacelita in 3rd as they passed the 5f marker.

But as Set Sail and Grand Ducal entered the straight, their lack of genuine class began to tell and they were consumed by the pack very quickly. Sea The Stars set off after Stacelita and at last saw a bit of daylight. Mick Kinane pressed the button and got the response he wanted.

Sea The Stars powered clear and in a flash the race was put to bed. Cavalryman and Conduit both stayed on gamely, but were passed by Mick Channon’s Youmzain (winner of the G1 Grand Prix De St-cloud) who took runners-up spot.

It would be the last time we would see this exceptional horse race, as he was immediately retired to begin his stud career. So far, Taghrooda represents the most successful of his progeny. She won the Pretty Polly Stakes, the Oaks, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and was named both Champion Three-year-old Filly and World’s top-rated three-year-old filly in 2014.

However, it is unlikely that any will match Sea The Stars who’s Classic campaign could have only been bettered had he run in the St Leger and taken the Triple Crown. That race was never a likely target and nor will it be for most horses that win the first 2 legs (1,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby).

His 3-year-old season will probably remain as the benchmark, for many years to come.

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