Saturday, 6 June 2009

Triple Crown Alive In The UK

A strong field of opponents wasn’t enough to keep Sea The Stars from impressively winning the Epsom Derby under moderate urging from Mick Kinane. The John Oxx-trained son of Cape Cross became the first horse since Nashwan in 1989 to win the first two legs of the English Triple Crown. If he starts at Doncaster in September, he’d be the first Derby winner to contest there since Reference Point in 1987, and the first one since TC-winner Nijinsky in 1970 to start with a Triple Crown sweep on the line.

The second-to-fifth finisher were all trained by Aiden O’Brien (in this order: Fame And Glory, Masterofthehorse, Golden Sword, Rip Van Winkle) and all of them looked classy even in defeat. O’Brien predictably played stable tactics, sending Golden Sword and Age Of Aquarius to set a near-insane pace, but none of this could stop Sea The Stars, who has to be considered a great one. Slight disappointments were Dante-winner Black Bear Island and Guineas-third Gan Amhras (needless to say, both are Irish horses) who never got into the race today.

Well-beaten sixth-place finisher Crowded House was the first British horse to pass the post, although eighth-placed Debussy may be the only one worth a mention. The winner of the Blue Riband Trial had a remarkably bad trip and ultimately fell victim to the pace scenario, but showed some potential to build upon (and for the few remembering my post about the Epsom Trial, my favorite, Mustaqer, unfortunately finished distressed and hasn't returned to the races since).

After Galileo, Sea The Stars is the second Epsom Derby winner for recently-deceased broodmare Urban Sea. And for those who think great female racehorses make lousy broodmares: Urban Sea won a little something called Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1993.


  1. I love Urban Sea! She's also the dam of My Typhoon (by Giant's Causeway) who won the G1 Diana for Bill Mott.

    Why is it Europeans give their horses such classy names like Galileo and Sea the Stars...and we get Justwhistledixie and all those other runon names?

  2. You wouldn't have believed how the German Equi8 (TV) crew went crazy just because Urban Sea has a German mother: Allegretta, sired by the great Lombard. Lombard would have easily been a German Triple Crown winner in 1971 had it not been for a false start in the Derby. A racehorse by heart, Lombard ran at full speed for five furlongs in the void race, but still was good enough to only be narrowly beaten by stable companion Alpenkönig in the race that actually counted. Dating back to two-time Arc-winning French Champion Tantieme, Lombard’s line is one of the most underappreciated amongst European fans, IMO.

    Since Urban Sea was the winner of the very first Arc I cared for (I remember travelling through half the city to get the racing paper with the result as an 11-year-old), I love this horse too. Unfortunately she died of birth complications this spring, but at least the newborn survived.

    Btw, Galileo was part of a crop when Coolmore named all of their hot prospects after historic scientists (good times for a "history of science" nut like myself, I usually name some of my horses after Medieval scientists in racing PC games).