Sea The Stars once again showed why he is rated the best horse in the world by wearing down Mastercraftsman in the final furlong to win the Juddmonte International (Eng-I) by a length at York Aug. 18.
The victory was the fourth straight group I win for the John Oxx-trained colt, who remains undefeated this season.
Sent off as the heavy 1-5 favorite in the field of four, Sea The Stars was held up in last under regular pilot Mick Kinane as both Georgebernardshaw and Set Sail set a decent pace on the front end.
The complexion of the race began to change with four furlongs to go, as Johnny Murtagh sent Mastercraftsman through a gap between his stablemates and took command of the lead. Not about to be left behind, Mick Kinane boldly followed Murtagh through the same gap, and the pair began to pull away from the other two runners as the pace began to quicken.
Mastercraftsman appeared to be on his way to an upset victory, opening up a two-length lead on Sea The Stars with less than two furlongs to run. Kinane then went to work aboard ‘Stars’, and the pair gradually wore down Mastercraftsman in the final yards to earn the hard-fought victory.
Sea The Stars set a new course record in the International, completing the ten furlongs and 88 yards in 2:05.29 over a course listed as ‘good to firm’.
Oxx told reporters after the race, “They probably went a steady pace and of course Mastercraftsman is no tourist. He took it to him there at the end and just made him work.”
"It's great that he keeps on winning and he's a lovely horse to watch,” Oxx continued. “He's a horse who'll never win by much and Mick says he'll never win by more than about a length.”
Kinane added, “I asked him to go and quicken up between the two Ballydoyle pacemakers which was probably a bit of a risky maneuver, but I wanted to follow Johnny (Murtagh, aboard Mastercraftsman) through.
“So I let him quicken up and then eased him down,” Kinane continued. “Then Johnny quickened and found a couple of lengths and his horse has run a hell of a race. Just a combination of those things made it more difficult than maybe it should have been.”
As for future plans for Sea The Stars, Oxx said, “So long as the ground is quick, the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown (Sept. 5) is his next race, and that will be his only race in Ireland this year.”
The victory in the International was the sixth win in seven career starts for the son of Cape Cross. Sea The Stars has also notched victories in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I), Investec Derby (Eng-I), and stanjames.com Two Thousand Guineas Stakes (Eng-I) this year.
Sea The Stars was bred in Ireland by Sunderland Holdings, and is owned by 27-year-old Christopher Tsui, a nightclub owner from Hong Kong. David Tsui, Christopher’s father, campaigned Sea The Stars’ dam, Urban Sea, throughout her career.
The daughter of Miswaki was not only a multiple group I winner on the racecourse, but also was a tremendous broodmare, producing group I/grade I winners Galileo, Black Sam Bellamy, and My Typhoon.