The opening day of York's Ebor meeting regularly throws up a notable performance or two. Two years ago Sea The Stars had a straightforward victory in the Juddmonte International on his way to victory in the Irish Champion Stakes and then the Arc. Yesterday it was Sea Moon who had everybody talking.
Sea Moon, not related in any way to his predecessor, was the impressive winner of the Great Voltigeur, in a style that suggests he is well capable of winning the St Leger next month. His record-breaking eight length victory was well noted by both bookmakers and Timeform.
Immediately after the race the St Leger sponsors Ladbrokes installed Sea Moon as their 6/4 favourite, whilst Corals became first to make him an odds-on chance at 4/5. Timeform reacted by giving him a provisional rating of 128p, better than that achieved by any St Leger winner so far this century. It also lifted him to third place in this season's three-year-old rankings, behind Frankel (142) and Dream Ahead (129).
Jockey Richard Hughes, who rode Sea Moon yesterday, would surely love to have the ride in the Leger, but that seems unlikely. He said after the race, "He was only warming up going to the line. He's a lovely horse with great attitude â€“ he ticks all the boxes. He's a great mover in the stays well. I'm probably committed to Census but it is horseracing and anything can happen â€“ we seen that with Canford Cliffs."
Trainer Michael Stoute, who has nursed the half brother to 2003 St Leger winner Brian Boru through the season, was very pleased. "He had a few little niggles in springtime. He had an inflammation of the pharynx and we had to take our time. That was highly impressive. We were hopeful today but we did not expecting to win like that. He had been working really nicely but it was surprising to see him do it in that fashion."
Stoute's stable jockey Ryan Moore, who is out of action with a dislocated shoulder, is unlikely to have recovered in time to take the ride on Sea Moon. When asked who might get the leg up in the Leger, Stoute's reply was typically phlegmatic and understated. "I think we would be able to find one," he said.