Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

All at Sea over ground

There is no certainty in horse racing and at this stage it looks as though the hot-favourite Sea The Stars is still a doubtful runner for today’s Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Even though he has been declared by trainer John Oxx, he still may not take his chance because of the unnatually heavy rain which has swept around Dublin.

In a statement issued from his Currabeg stables, Oxx said: “I have declared Sea The Stars to run, even though the going at the moment is too soft for him. But given the forecast for good drying conditions between now and race time, I have no option but to leave him in the race to give him every opportunity to run should conditions improve significantly.

“If there are further heavy showers in the meantime, they will ruin all chance of him racing.

“We will delay a final decison until midday.”

Personally, I feel Sea The Stars will be asked to take his chance with Michael Kinane on board and he should give his many followers a day to remember.

The forecast for today was dry, so there is a chance of the horse renewing rivalry with Aidan O’Brien’s Fame And Glory who finished second to Sea The Stars in the Epsom Derby.

Fame And Glory then went on to win the Irish Derby by five lengths but of course, Sea The Stars was withdrawn because of the heavy ground.

This was a disappointment to Oxx who wanted to see his horse run in a major race in Ireland. All Sea The Stars successes have been in England beginning with the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket , the Derby followed by the Eclipse Stakes and then the Judmonte at York.

All this would suggest Oxx has nothing to fear from today’s field and I know he is very keen on running him and winning a major race on home territory. That’s what might make the difference in his decision making.

O’Brien has a tremendous record in this race, winning it three times in recent years and has five of the nine runners, with Mastercraftsman (Seamie Heffernan) still among them, although he is also entered in tomorrow’s Prix du Moulin over a mile.

So it would seem to be his race and in many respects, there is no doubt in my mind that Sea The Stars may not have it as easy as he has had in previous races.

It’s just possible there could be an uspet but it would be a great pity for followers of Sea The Stars if he runs and is beaten. Fans love great horse, especially one from Ireland.

Let’s hope the elements relent and the Oxx star runs.

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