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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 16:06 UK

Champion and wonder horse?

Sea the Stars

Watch - Sea the Stars triumphs in Arc

By Frank Keogh

Bookmakers have installed £100m wonder horse Sea The Stars as second favourite to land another prize - the Irish Sports Personality of the Year.

But award organisers said the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner could be a non-runner because he is not a human.

Bookmaker Paddy Power said the horse was 11-4 second favourite behind Ireland, Lions and Leinster rugby star Brian O'Driscoll for the award.

"It is a two-horse race, and 50% of that is true," Power told BBC Sport.

Sea The Stars is trained in Ireland by John Oxx, and ridden by 50-year-old Irish jockey Mick Kinane.

The colt has been hailed as one of the all-time racing greats after his unique treble of winning the 2000 Guineas, Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

At Longchamp on Sunday, he won the prestigious 'Arc', which features the cream of European racing, despite being boxed in, hampered and struggling for room in the early stages of the race.

Thousands of fans gave him a hero's welcome as he entered the winner's enclosure with Kinane draped in an Irish tricolour.

Power said punters were keen to back the three-year-old for the RTE sports award.

A REMARKABLE HORSE
Sea The Stars is welcomed home to his stable
Sire: Cape Cross (Ire)
Dam: Uran Sea (USA)
Wins: Eight from nine appearances, six from six as a three-year-old
Total prize money: £4,417,163

"With Ireland winning their first Grand Slam for something like 70 years and Leinster the Heineken Cup, Brian O'Driscoll is understandably a hot favourite at 1-4," he said.

"Sea The Stars follows at 11-4 and, much like his season, the champion horse is a country mile ahead of all the other challengers.

"Sea The Stars has been well requested today since his historic 2000 Guineas, Derby and Arc treble, forcing us to make him a very live contender."

However, organisers say the award previously known as Irish Sports Personality of the Year is now simply the Irish Sportsperson of the Year.

"The RTE Sports Awards in December will feature the Sportsperson of the Year, Team of the Year and the Irish Sports Council Hall of Fame Awards," said a spokesman for the broadcaster RTE.

"As a horse I don't believe that Sea The Stars would qualify for Sportsperson of the Year, however John Oxx and Mick Kinane may be considered for nomination."

If he is ruled ineligible, the bookmaker has pledged to give refunds.

Racing pundit John McCririck believes the horse should also be a contender at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in December.

He compared the impact Oxx's star has had on racing as similar to world champion sprinter Usain Bolt's boost for athletics.

"There is no doubt that in 100 years' time people will still be talking about his achievements," said McCririck.

"I think the BBC should have him up there with Usain Bolt on their Sports Personality show. Bolt is unforgettable for the way he runs and the way he performs.

"Both have transformed their respective events and just like Bolt, Sea The Stars eases down at the end of his races."

Sports Personality Classics - Red Rum 1977

Horses have been honoured at the BBC awards in the past, although Sea The Stars may not qualify.

Bob Champion and Aldaniti won the Team of the Year award in 1981 after the jockey recovered from cancer to win the Grand National.

Meanwhile, triple Grand National winner Red Rum made a memorable appearance in the studio during the 1977 show.

But in the past, the team award has usually only been open to British teams, while the overseas personality prize is aimed at "sportsmen and women".

Flat racehorses struggle to build up the same kind of following as their National Hunt counterparts as they tend to be retired earlier, attracting lucrative stud fees from breeding careers.

CORNELIUS LYSAGHT ON TWITTER
Follow updates from BBC racing correspondent

A decision on whether Sea The Stars continues to race has yet to be made, but he already has 2,500 followers on the social networking site Facebook.

Reports have suggested the horse could be worth as much as £100m were he to be retired to stud now.

Sea The Stars has won six top-class Group One races this season - one in each month since May.

Monday's edition of the Racing Post newspaper simply splashed Kinane and the horse on its front page with the headline "The Greatest".


Flashback to June 2009
Sea The Stars seals Guineas-Derby double

Mick Kinane and Sea of Stars

Replay - Sea The Stars wins Derby



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see also
Sea The Stars 'an all-time great'
05 Oct 09 |  Horse Racing
Sea The Stars in historic Arc win
04 Oct 09 |  Horse Racing
Sports Personality of the Week
23 Nov 09 |  Sports Personality


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