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Small is beautiful: Jarlath Fahey looks to Sea The Lion to roar home in Ebor

Sea The Lion: Ronan Whelan and Jarlath Fahey after winning with the gelding at the Curragh last month
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It's the small margins that count and they don’t come much smaller than the gap back to the second when Sea The Lion scores.

If you combine the winning distance of all six of his wins it adds up to a length and three-quarters. A head, a neck, half a length, half a length, a nose and a head.

Teodoro, one of Sea The Lion's Sky Bet Ebor rivals, also has six wins on his CV but those victories have been by a combined total of over 18 lengths. Different strokes for different folks.

Style doesn't matter, it's all about substance. Sea The Lion can see the line and knows how to get the job done. 

Sea The Lion: has blossomed with age and is a live chance for Saturday's Ebor
"I suppose you could say he does only what he has to," giggles trainer Jarlath Fahey when asked why his strapping son of Sea The Stars always keeps him on the edge of his seat. He will have no fingernails left if he keeps up this malarkey. 

"The funny thing is he's won from the front and won from behind so it's not as if he doesn’t do anything when he hits the front," he adds. "He just seems to know where the winning line is, and that's a great trait. Let’s hope it continues!"

Fahey, part of the famous family from Monastervin in County Kildare, is probably best known for his exploits with star mare Jennies Jewel, who won eight times despite bumping into Annie Power all too often.

Jennies Jewel was retired last year so there was a niche in the yard for a new flag-bearer and up stepped Sea The Lion.

He  is enjoying his best season at the age of seven and is unbeaten in three starts – a Leopardstown handicap, the Cork Derby and a premier handicap on Irish Derby weekend at the Curragh – edging out Gustavus Vassa by a nose and a head in his last two outings. 

Jarlath Fahey has high hopes for Sea The Lion

"He's very easy-going," says Fahey. "Absolutely nothing fazes him. He’s lazy as sin but when he gets to the track he really turns it on.

"He was very promising from an early stage and it's great to see him progressing the way he has. Ronan [Whelan] gets on great with him. He knows him inside out and the pair have formed a terrific relationship."

Irish-trained horses have won three of the last nine runnings of the Ebor and, although Willie Mullins spearheads the away challenge this time with the heavily backed favourite Stratum, Fahey believes Sea The Lion has strong claims.

"He travelled over great and I couldn’t be happier with him," he says. "He's done nothing wrong all year and I'd like to think he's still progressing.

"It would be unbelievable if he could win. It's such a prestigious race and one of the highlights of the season. There's great prize-money too. It’s a big, big prize. Would we ever be that lucky?"

If Fahey is to be lucky, it won’t be by half the York straight. A nose is a likely winning margin. We know the drill by now.

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Absolutely nothing fazes him at all. Nothing. He wouldn’t get flustered about anything
E.W. Terms
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