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By Martin Kelly and Tom Peacock, PA Sport. Last Updated: 16/10/09 3:03pm
Sea The Stars fends off Delegator.
John Oxx struck with just his second runner in the stanjames.com 2000 Guineas as Sea The Stars and Mick Kinane powered home in the first Classic of the season at Newmarket.
The 58-year-old Curragh trainer is always accorded the utmost respect on his rare visits across the Irish Sea, and those who backed the Cape Cross colt down to 8-1 were rewarded with an uplifting success.
Sea The Stars struck for home meeting the rising ground and called on his stamina running to the line to thwart the challenge of 3-1 favourite Delegator by a length and a half.
Jim Bolger saddled subsequent Derby winner New Approach to finish second 12 months ago, and sent out fellow blue riband hopeful Gan Amhras to cross the line three-quarters of a length down in third.
The Aidan O'Brien pair of Rip Van Winkle and Mastercraftsman were fourth and fifth respectively.
Oxx said: "I am like the duck floating across the top of the lake - calm on the outside but all the legs going like mad under the water.
"This means an awful lot and training good horses like this is what keeps you doing it.
"This also means an awful lot to this horse's owners (the Tsui family), who aren't here today.
"I am delighted with him. He is a horse with a big future. He has everything - speed, temperament, size and strength.
"He is just like Azamour. He has such a presence in the yard and horses like him get you out of bed in the morning."
Azamour, Oxx's only other 2000 Guineas runner, finished third to Haafhd in the race five years ago and he was confident of making the frame with this colt, despite a setback on St Patrick's Day.
Oxx continued: "We had two good horses for the race, Arazan and Sea The Stars, and we fancied them both to be in the frame had they both turned up.
"We left the other horse at home as we didn't want to run him on fast ground at this stage, and he will go for the Irish Guineas.
"This horse is similar to Azamour who was a bit raw and wasn't suited by the soft ground here when finishing third.
"He always travelled well and both him and Delegator were travelling well on either side of the track.
"When I saw him pick up and pass the pacemaker I thought he would be very hard to beat as he would run to the line, and the uphill finish would suit him."
The winner is a half-brother to 2001 Derby hero Galileo, and his odds for the mile-and-a-half Epsom Classic tumbled in the wake of his success.
Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler and Boylesports make him their new 5-2 favourite, while Coral offer 5-1 alongside Crowded House and Fame and Glory, while Cashmans are slightly bigger at 6s.
Sky Bet reacted by cutting the winner to 9/2 for the Epsom Derby and 10/1 to complete the Triple Crown.
Gan Amhras and Rip Van Winkle are both 8s for the Derby with the same firm.
Oxx added: "The Derby will be his next race. We had a bit of a rush to get him here after having a temperature on March 17, and the five-week interval will be welcome.
"There is a big debate over whether he will get the trip and there is always a debate about whether a Guineas winner will get the Derby distance.
"You can read his pedigree either way and we won't know until the day. I think we have a fair chance he will get it, and if he had no chance he wouldn't be running."
For Kinane, it was a fourth 2000 Guineas success following on from Tirol (1990), Entrepreneur (1997) and King Of Kings 11 years ago.
The veteran rider said: "I always thought that whatever he did last year, this would be his year.
"He was way ahead of time this winter but he got a viral infection and that really set us back.
"He didn't work that well in midweek on heavy ground but worked great when we got him on a better surface on Thursday and I said we had to be here.
"He has always found going quick easy, and when Delegator came I knew that we were going to climb the hill."
He went on: "I want to win the Derby on him now. He has won this Classic which is in turn a trial for the Derby. I don't know if he'll stay but if he does he has all the qualities a top horse has to have.
"He has a great nature - Epsom won't phase him as an occasion - he's going to be a good ride.
"There is a shade of doubt about a son of Cape Cross getting the Derby trip but everything out of Urban Sea has had stamina - Galileo was one and Black Sam Bellamy another.
"She has been a hell of a mare and probably a bit more influential than the sire."
Sea The Stars is a son of Arc winner Urban Sea, who was also owned by the Hong Kong-based Tsui family.
Their racing manager, John Clark, said: "Ling Tsui owned Urban Sea, who sadly died earlier this year. For the last eight years of her life Urban Sea boarded at the Irish National Stud.
"The family were unable to come today but this will mean a lot to them, and they will be coming to Epsom."