Sea The Stars, owned by Christopher Tsui and trained by John Oxx in Co. Kildare, was a half-brother to Galileo and, in 2009, had arguably the most successful three-year-old campaign of any modern thoroughbred. Indeed, he had a perfect record, winning all six races at the highest level, at distances ranging from a mile to a mile and a half, and earning £4,347,391 in prize money. Frankel, by contrast, won five Group One races during his three-year-old campaign, earning £1,106,235 in prize money, but didn’t race beyond a mile.
Sea The Stars won the first two colts’ Classics of the season, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Derby at Epsom, before taking on his elders for the first time in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. Ridden by Mick Kinane, as he was throughout his career, Sea The Stars dug deep to fend off the potent challenge of Rip Van Winkle by a length, with Conduit a further 4½ lengths behind in third. In so doing, he became the first horse since Nashwan in 1989 to complete the 2,000 Guineas-Derby-Eclipse treble.
Sea The Stars subsequently won the Juddmonte International Stakes at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at the Curragh with the minimum of fuss consequently started odds on to become the first horse ever to win the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He took a keen hold at Longchamp and, having been restrained, made good progress on the inside with two furlongs to run and powered clear in the closing stages to win, impressively by 2 lengths. Mick Kinane said afterwards, “He’s exceptional – he’s just a phenomenal, rare horse. They were going a nice pace and I knew I would need a bit of luck in the straight, no matter what happened, but I knew I had the pace to go anywhere I wanted.”
Understandably, Sea The Stars was named Cartier Horse of the Year for 1986 and, at the time, his Timeform rating of 140 was the seventh best ever awarded.