After confirming his place among the racing legends with a stunning victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, just one question remains for fans of Sea The Stars – will he have one more dance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic?
Coral make the John Oxx-trained superstar a 4-5 chance at the head of the market for the Santa Anita showdown, but jockey Mick Kinane dropped the biggest hint yet that California will be one step too many.
He said: “His coat has gone and he has got hairy. He got warm as he is getting his winter rug on. I don’t know what John and the owners have in mind, but what he has achieved now is phenomenal.
“Does he need to achieve any more? I don’t know.”
Sea The Stars is the first in history to complete the Guineas-Derby-Arc treble, and his sixth Group One of the season was achieved in the same imperious manner which has carried him through the year as he overcame a troublesome passage for a two-length triumph.
The 4-6 favourite was warmly clapped into the parade ring and out onto the track, where he broke from his stall and pulled fiercely in the early stages.
Kinane restrained the Cape Cross colt and settled him on the rail, from where a clear passage appeared nigh on impossible.
As the grandstands began to rumble, a gap miraculously opened along the rail and Kinane needed no second asking to grasp the nettle.
The partnership shot forward, with the Parisian suburbs bursting to life as Sea The Stars sailed past Dar Re Mi.
Youmzain again came from the clouds to fill the runner-up spot for the third consecutive year, edging out Andre Fabre’s Cavalryman in the minor placings.
Kinane hailed the colt’s triumph as his easiest of the year, which comes as quite a statement after his displays in the 2000 Guineas, Derby, Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes.
Oxx has a 100% record in the European championship, with Sea The Stars following up Sinndar’s victory at the turn of the century.
The Currabeg trainer said: “After Leopardstown (Irish Champion) I thought that nothing can beat him and that he is the best horse by far, and he will win the Arc.
“He seemed better than ever in his homework, and his physical condition is getting better and he is putting on weight.
“A horse like that can get himself get of trouble, but there was a bit of jostling early on and it set him off and he was a bit keen for a while, a bit like the Derby I suppose.
“Mick had to pull him back then and get him behind horses to settle, and I think that would have made the punters who backed him a little bit nervous.
“No horse in any race has more speed than he has and Mick wasn’t worried when he was a little bit back.
“He has come on a lot since the Eclipse and he is a better horse now. He just does enough when he hits the front and will never win by very far.
“He is a great, great horse to keep on winning and to have won all of those races. I can’t quite believe it.
“We just go from race to race and we will see – he has done a lot. I suppose you are going to ask me about the Breeders’ Cup, but that is November 7 and I am not sure how we would all feel about that.
“We will let the dust settle, and now is not the time to make a decision. We will see how the horse is and make a decision.
“To have got as far as the Arc is a lot to be thankful for. I can’t see him staying in training next year, but we haven’t discussed it.”