Hong Kong businessman Christopher Tsui Ka-leung will join leading figures from the British racing industry at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket on Friday night for a glittering reception to celebrate the induction of his homebred, Sea The Stars, into the QIPCO British Champions Series Hall of Fame.
Launched in 2021, the Hall of Fame sets out to immortalise the modern greats of British flat racing – both equine and human – from 1970 onwards.
Selected by an independent panel of industry experts in recognition of his outstanding achievements within the sport, Sea The Stars is the first galloper inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
Sea The Stars is the eighth galloper to enter the Hall of Fame – he joins Frankel (2021), Brigadier Gerard (2021), Nijinsky (2021), Mill Reef (2021), Dayjur (2021), Dancing Brave (2022) and Galileo (2022) – and the first with Hong Kong connections.
Bred by the Tsui family’s breeding operation, Sunderland Holding, Sea the Stars carried yellow and purple silks reminiscent of those made famous by Christopher’s late father, David, who began buying racehorses in the 1990s.
Tsui senior’s early acquisitions included 1993 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Urban Sea, who is the only broodmare in the 21st century to produce two Group One Epsom Derby (2,400m) winners – Galileo (2001) and Sea The Stars (2009).
Trained by John Oxx and ridden in all of his races by Mick Kinane, Sea the Stars dominated
the European flat racing scene during his three-year-old season in 2009, capturing the public’s imagination with one spectacular win after another, racking up six Group One victories over distances ranging from 1,600m to 2,400m.
An audacious Group One campaign in three different countries began with victory at Newmarket in the English 2,000 Guineas (1,600m) – the 2023 renewal of which takes place this weekend – and ended in triumph at Longchamp in the same race that Urban Sea won, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2,400m). In between, Sea The Stars also won the Epsom Derby, the Eclipse Stakes (2,000m), the Juddmonte International Stakes (2,000m) and the Irish Champion Stakes (2,000m).
“It’s such a great honour for Sea The Stars to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, alongside legends of the sport such as Lester Piggott and Dancing Brave, and I’m very thankful to receive such a prestigious recognition on his behalf,” Tsui said.
“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. Then 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.”
Success for Sea The Stars has continued apace since he retired to stud, with his offspring including Epsom and Irish Derby (2,400m) winner Harzand, legendary stayer Stradivarius and last year’s highest-rated turf galloper, Baaeed.
Taking his place alongside Sea The Stars in the Hall of Fame is Newmarket trainer Sir Michael Stoute, who becomes the first active handler to be inducted and just the third conditioner overall after revered pair Vincent O’Brien (2021) and Sir Henry Cecil (2022).
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