By Aisling Crowe in Racing Post on 13th January 2024

Sea The Moon's stock set to rise further after brilliant Classic double in 2023

When the conclusive story of Sea The Moon's career comes to be written, 2023 will surely take up quite some space in any tome because during the past 12 months the Lanwades Stud stallion scaled new heights on the track and in the sales ring.

Last year Sea The Moon doubled his tally of Group 1 winners, through a brace of Classic victories in his native Germany, and two daughters of the Deutsches Derby hero earned seven-figure sums at auction.

It is no wonder, then, that the 13-year-old from one of Germany's outstanding Classic families will stand for a career-high fee of £32,500 for the upcoming breeding season, as his more expensively bred crops will make their presence felt on the track over the next few seasons.

Not that his past and present representatives have failed to do their sire, bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf, proud. Far from it in fact.

From six crops to race he is the sire of 32 black-type winners from 383 runners, which gives him a stakes winners to runners return of a very healthy 8.36 per cent, bearing scrutiny with stallions who have commanded fees much higher than the £15,000 Sea The Moon stood at for the first six years of his second career.

Those 32 stakes winners comprise four individual Group 1 victors from a total of 18 Group winners, and there are 26 additional black-type performers.

Perhaps until last year he had flown a little under the radar, wearing a stealth cloak that made it easier to avoid noticing that here was a sire of no little ability or quality. That cloak was cast aside last summer as he sired his first Classic winners.

Fantastic Moon, who had won the Group 3 Preis des Winterfavoriten at two, landed the Deutsches Derby at Hamburg. Better was to come a month later at Dusseldorf, where Muskoka led home a 1-2-3 for her sire in the Preis der Diana.

The Derby conqueror would go on to win the Group 2 Prix Niel and finish second to Nations Pride in the Group 1 Bayerisches Zuchtrennen. He remains in training this season.

Muskoka would wind up in the boutique Arqana sale at Saint-Cloud on the eve of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, where the Oaks winner, who was also successful in the Group 3 Hamburger Stuten-Meile and Listed Henkel-Stutenpreis, topped the stellar sale by making €1.3 million to Michael Donohoe on behalf of Zhang Yuesheng.

She is the fourth Group 1 winner sired by Sea The Moon and, seven weeks after her sale-topping turn, his first Group 1 heroine would light up the ring at Goffs.

In 2020, with three crops of runners on the track, Sea The Moon sired six individual Group winners headed by Alpine Star, whose Coronation Stakes triumph preceded three consecutive runner-up finishes in Group 1s – the Prix de Diane, Prix Jacques le Marois and Prix de l'Opera.

The chestnut is a younger half-sister to champion Alpha Centauri and subsequently became a half-sister to another Group 1 winner in Discoveries. Bred by the Niarchos family and descended from their queen Miesque, both Alpine Star, in foal to Frankel, and Alpha Centauri, carrying to Sea The Moon, were offered for sale at the Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale.

In the space of an hour or so the mares equalled the record price for a horse sold at public auction in Ireland, making €6m apiece to MV Magnier.

With a winter favourite for the German Derby in the Group 3 Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen winner Wonderful Boy, two sales-topping daughters and the same number of Classic winners, plus eight individual Group winners, it was the best year to date for Sea The Moon – and even better could be on the horizon as his most expensively bred crops come on stream.

Sea The Moon's juveniles of this season are his most expensively bred to date as his fee was raised to £22,500 for 2021 after a wonderful 2020 season in which he sired four individual Group winners, with Alpine Star the leading light of a cast that included the Group 2 winner and Group 1 second Quest The Moon from his first crop and the second-crop Group 2 and Group 3 winner Wonderful Moon. She is a half-sister to Wonderful Gorl, the Listed-placed dam of Wonderful Boy.

His intake of mares for 2021 included 75 per cent winners and 43 per cent of them were black-type performers, with almost a third (30 per cent) successful at black-type level and 15 per cent of the mares he covered that year were Group winners. Two-thirds of the book had foaled a winner.

This excellent book of mares has produced 121 registered juveniles with Weatherbys and there are a considerable number of well-bred and exciting Sea The Moon youngsters to look forward to on the racecourse over the next few seasons.

Concurrently that book returned his best yearling sales average of this decade at £68,123 for 68 sold of the 80 offered, which was triple the covering fee. The median price for the cohort came in at £48,300.

Sea The Moon's most expensive yearling of 2023 was a filly out of Group 2 Prix de la Nonette winner and Prix de l'Opera second Jazzi Top. Bred by Meon Valley Stud from their outstanding family of Kayf Tara, Opera House, Colorspin and this filly's own second dam, Prix de l'Opera winner Zee Zee Top, she was purchased by Shadwell for 575,000gns at Book 1, a record price for a Sea The Moon yearling.

The best price for a colt by Sea The Moon last year was also paid at Book 1, where Alex Elliott, on behalf of Spicer Thoroughbreds, went to 260,000gns for the colt out of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Teppal. Consigned by Newsells Park Stud, he is from the family of Kelina, With You, Call The Wind and We Are.

He has been returned in training with Ralph Beckett, who is also registered as the trainer of Anniversary, a son of the Prix Miesque winner Lixirova who cost 65,000gns as a foal from Tinnakill House to Lawn Stud.

At Arqana's October Yearling Sale, Stroud Coleman Bloodstock purchased for €260,000 Haras de la Perelle's half-sister to Grosser Preis von Berlin winner and Prix Ganay and Grand Prix de Paris runner-up Simca Mille. Her second dam is a half-sister to Group 1 Prix de Diane, Prix Saint-Alary and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Sarafina.

Yann Barberot secured Haras de la Louviere's colt by Sea The Moon out of the Listed-placed Amaranthe for €200,000. He is inbred to 4x4 to Allegretta as his third dam, Altruiste, is her daughter by Diesis.

There are already a significant number of Sea The Moon two-year-olds registered in training with Charlie Johnston, at least six. They include Jeanne Baret, bred by Lanwades Stud out of Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen winner Lady Jane Digby, who has a perfect seven winners from as many runners.

Sir Paul Ramsey is a half-brother to the multiple Group 2 winner Sandrine, by Bobby's Kitten, who stands alongside Sea The Moon at Lanwades. The colt was purchased by Mark Johnston Racing from Staffordstown at Goffs Orby in 2023. 

Other Sea The Moon juveniles with high-profile relations include Mia Sunshine, a three-parts sister to Preis der Diana winner Miss Yoda; Opera Wave, who is a half-sister to Folk Melody, the dam of last year's Cox Plate winner Romantic Warrior; and an unnamed colt out of the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Flotilla, who is a half-sister to the dam of Mangoustine.

Sea The Moon also has a two-year-old half-sister to Rathbarry Stud's young sire Old Persian, victorious in the Dubai Sheema Classic and Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, and a three-parts brother to Group 1 Prix de Royallieu winner Sea La Rosa and Deauville Legend, successful in the Great Voltigeur.

Having sired two Classic winners in 2023, all eyes will be on his three-year-olds this season who, as well as Wonderful Boy, include Flamingo Moon, third behind that colt in the Krefeld Group 3 in November.

Six sons of Sea The Moon are entered for this year's Deutsches Derby. In addition to Wonderful Boy and Flamingo Moon, an interesting contender is A Storm Is Born. Trained by Carlos and Yann Lerner, the French-bred unraced colt is inbred 3x3 to Urban Sea. Dilbar, his dam, is a Galileo full-sister to the Irish Derby winner Sovereign.

His quartet of fillies entered in the Preis der Diana are headed by New York City, who was third in the Group 3 Preis der Winterkonigin last season. The unraced Duras, trained by Andreas Wohler for Stall Mandarin, is from the family of Animal Kingdom.

The tale of Sea The Moon is set to run and run.