Sea The Stars: stormed to a sensational Arc victory under Mick KinanePICTURE: Edward Whitaker/ racingpostpix.com
Sea The Stars joins the immortals with Arc win
Report: France, Sunday
Longchamp: Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+
SEA THE STARS earned his place among racing's immortals with a stunning victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday.
Already a dual Classic winner, the astonishing Sea The Stars joined the greats with a brilliant performance to win Europe's biggest Flat race by a couple of lengths over the gallant Youmzain, who took the runner-up spot for the third year running.
Sent off 4-5 on the pari-mutuel and 4-6 with British bookmakers, Sea The Stars was winning his sixth consecutive Group 1 contest for trainer John Oxx and jockey Mick Kinane.
Having broken alertly - and running a little too freely for Kinane's comfort - Sea The Stars was reined back into mid-division, well off the Ballydoyle pacemakers Set Sail and Grand Ducal.
But this was not entirely straightforward, and Sea The Stars' legion of fans may have been forgiven a few moments ofconcern in the false straight before top filly Stacelita kicked for home.
However, Kinane saw a gap on the inside and Sea The Stars quickened smartly up the rail before being moving out around Stacelita, who had been joined in battle by old Prix Vermeille rival Dar Re Mi.
Sea The Stars duly delivered the coup de grace bertween the fillies with a powerful surge at the furlong marker.
Mick Kinane: "He's a rare horse"PICTURE: Martin Lynch
The race was all but done and dusted then, but 20-1 shot Youmzain finished with purpose to grab second under Kieren Fallon ahead of Frankie Dettori and Cavalryman.
King George winner Conduit took fourth ahead of Dar Re Mi, with Irish Derby winner Fame And Glory sixth. Every one of the first six home was a Group 1 winner.
Owned by Hong Kong-based Christopher Tsui, Sea The Stars is a half-brother to Galileo by Cape Cross out of the Tsui family's 1993 Arc winner Urban Sea.
He has now earned a slice of racing history as the first horse to win the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and Arc - not forgetting his victories in the Coral Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes.
Sea The Stars returned to a hero's welcome from an enraptured Longchamp crowd, aware they had witnessed racing history from the horse of a lifetime.
"It's wonderful that it's over - it's just a great relief," said Oxx, who denied any concerns about Sea The Stars' position on the inner.
"We were not too alarmed at any stage," he added. "There was a bit of jostling and that set him off and Mick had to pull him back a bit but I wasn't anxious.
"He has come through in a nice position - he was always travelling strongly but he just had to step up the gears to get out.
"Mick wouldn't panic because this horse has the gears - if a horse has speed and gears, he'll get himself out of trouble."
John Oxx: "A great, great horse"PICTURE: Mark Cranham
The Arc could have been Sea The Stars' swansong, but he is favourite for next month's Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Coral make him 4-5.
"He got to the front today and just did enough but he's a great, great horse to keep on winning," said Oxx.
"We just take it race by race and he's done a lot this year.
"The Breeders' Cup is on November 7 and we will let the dust settle, now's not the time to be making decisions."
Kinane admitted that he had perhaps ended up in a potentially tricky spot.
"I ended up in a position I maybe didn't want to, but I didn't want to risk firing him up," said the rider.
"I tried to bottle him up at the start as he was so fresh. He was a bit free early on but I didn't have any worries as I knew I was on the fastest horse in the race.
"He's a rare horse. He's exceptional - he's a phenomenal horse."