I’m so pleased that Born To Sea has made it to the QIPCO 2000 Guineas line up on Saturday. I backed him for the race last June after his winning debut in the Listed Blenheim Stakes at the Curragh, and then laid him off over the winter at less than half the price he is now. It’s not often I’m as well placed as this – five of my Cheltenham ante-post bets didn’t make it to their race.
There isn’t a deal to go on with Born To Sea, as he suffered an injury in his second race, and hasn’t raced since. And trainer John Oxx isn’t too sure about what to expect from him. He says, “We don’t know how good he is. He’s an idle home worker and while he does enough, he does no more than he has to. It’s difficult to weigh him up as he was injured on his second start and we didn’t get any feel for him.”
Oxx recognises some similarities with his champion half-brother Sea The Stars, but has no feel for how much of Sea The Star’s ability he has. “He’s the same colour, no white, a bay with black points. He’s well grown, 16.1, he has his brother’s lovely walk and athleticism and has a lot of his energy. They both needed plenty of work to keep them settled and quiet, to burn off the energy so to speak, but his a bit more like Invincible Spirit” (his sire).
Oxx is confident that whatever the ground turns out like at Newmarket, (it’s currently soft after heavy overnight rain) Born To Sea will be able to handle it. “He’s fairly adaptable ground wise, but he’s a horse who’s unproven and we don’t know an awful lot about him yet. He’s won over 6 furlongs (on yielding ground), so I suppose I’d have preferred fast ground rather than slow ground because he has to get the mile. We’d prefer it wasn’t a real slog.”
It’s the genes Born To Sea has inherited from Invincible Spirit that mean he won’t take the same route as Sea The Stars and step up to 12 furlongs as the season progresses, as the older horse's offspring rarely get beyond 10 furlongs. Oxx says that Born To Sea is “shorter and looks more a sprinter or miler than Sea The Stars who had great length about him. It remains to be seen how much of his ability he has.”
We’ll have a good idea on Saturday afternoon.