SIR MICHAEL STOUTE AND SEA THE STARS TO BE INDUCTED INTO BRITISH FLAT RACING HALL OF FAME
Iconic trainer Sir Michael Stoute and fabled racehorse SEA THE STARS have today been confirmed as the latest inductees into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame, the official Hall of Fame for British Flat racing, with their official induction ceremony to take place during the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket Racecourse next weekend.
Launched in 2021, the Hall of Fame sets out to immortalise the Modern Greats of the sport, both human and equine, from 1970 onwards. Stoute and Sea The Stars are the first to be inducted in 2023, both having been chosen by an independent panel of industry experts in recognition of their outstanding achievements within the sport, their decision understandably unanimous.
Both inductions will be officially recognised through a special presentation moment at Newmarket Racecourse on Sunday 7th May during the QIPCO Guineas Festival. The presentations will take place ahead of the second British Classic of the year, the Group 1 QIPCO 1,000 Guineas, which is also the second leg of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series.
Additionally, to further enhance the Hall of Fame, the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket has established a new and updated exhibition within the Thompson Gallery. This will provide visitors with an opportunity to find out more about some of the most adored and important stars of British Flat racing. The exhibition is open to all visitors to the museum and includes a range of artefacts relating to the Hall of Fame, such as Frankie Dettori’s riding boots and Lester Piggott’s Hall of Fame medal, together with interactive screens that will excite all ages.
Stoute, 77, becomes the first active trainer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame – and just the third trainer overall, after the revered Vincent O’Brien and Sir Henry Cecil. Meanwhile Sea The Stars, owned by Christopher Tsui, trained by John Oxx and ridden by jockey Mick Kinane in all his races, is the eighth horse to join the Hall of Fame, 14 years after winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
On his induction, Stoute said: “I am very flattered and most grateful to have been inducted into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame. Of course, it has only been made possible by good horses, talented and dedicated staff and loyal owners.”
The ten-time Champion Trainer has accumulated more than 4,000 winners in Britain since enjoying his first success at Newmarket in 1972. Only Mark Johnston, Martin Pipe and Richard Hannon Sr have had more winners on these shores – with Stoute still not finished yet.
Stoute’s massive haul includes six Derby winners, including a pair who rewrote the record books. The breath-taking SHERGAR won by a record margin of ten lengths in 1981, while WORKFORCE (GB) clocked a record time, that still stands, in 2010. His other winners of the premier Classic have been SHAHRASTANI, who beat DANCING BRAVE in a dramatic 1986 renewal, plus KRIS KIN (2003), NORTH LIGHT (2004), and DESERT CROWN (GB) (2022). The last-named remains unbeaten heading into the 2023 season, where he will likely kick off his campaign in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown Park on 25 May.
The doyen of the training ranks, Stoute has had a record 82 winners at Royal Ascot, including ESTIMATE's unforgettable Gold Cup triumph for Queen Elizabeth II in 2013, and nobody has trained more winners of prestigious prizes such as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (six), International Stakes (six), Eclipse (six), Lockinge (eight), Falmouth Stakes (six) and Yorkshire Oaks (nine).
His latest big race win saw BAY BRIDGE (GB) emerge victorious in the QIPCO Champion Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October last year, beating the likes of 2021 Derby winner ADAYAR and the William Haggas-trained duo MY PROSPERO and BAAEED (GB), with the latter having previously swept all before him in ten starts until that day.
Sea the Stars dominated the European Flat racing scene during his three-year-old career in 2009, capturing the public’s hearts with one supreme exhibition of equine perfection after another.
That year, he contested six Group 1 races and won them all, over distances ranging between a mile and a mile and a half. An audacious campaign in three different countries began with victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and ended, five months later, with glory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
In between, he also won The Derby, Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Irish Champion Stakes. It was a breathtaking selection of races, almost the stuff of fantasy, and yet each success was gained with something to spare against the best around on various types of ground.
Owner Tsui said: "It is such a great honour for Sea The Stars to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, alongside legends of the sport such as Lester Piggott and Dancing Brave and I am very thankful to receive such a prestigious recognition on his behalf. Being part of his journey has been a privilege, from watching him race on the world stage 14 years ago to seeing his progeny excel year after year.
“This adventure started 30 years ago, on the first Sunday of October in 1993. Urban Sea won the Arc that afternoon; our trainer Jean Lesbordes rushed off to the track, my father grabbed his son Clement and stopped him jumping down from the top of the grandstand, so much was the excitement of the moment.
“I was 12 years old at the time and will always have that memory etched into my mind. 16 years later on the same racecourse, Sea The Stars would emulate his mother and give me another memory I will never forget. He truly is the horse of a lifetime."
His success story has continued at stud, with his progeny including Classic winners such as HARZAND, TAGHROODA (GB) and SEA OF CLASS, plus STRADIVARIUS, CRYSTAL OCEAN (GB) and Baaeed.
Sea The Stars becomes the eighth horse to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, following FRANKEL (GB), BRIGADIER GERARD (GB), NIJINSKY, MILL REEF, DAYJUR, Dancing Brave and GALILEO. All of those were magnificent performers, yet none quite managed six triumphs at the highest level in one season.