06/25/2009 11:00PM

Sea The Stars in historic bid

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Edward Whitaker/Racing Post
Sea The Stars (center) could be withdrawn by trainer John Oxx if the ground doesn't suit his double classic winner.

Sea The Stars goes after a rare classic triple at the Curragh on Sunday in the $2.1 million Irish Derby in which Aidan O'Brien will throw up a wall of seven horses attempting to beat him in the 13-runner field going a mile and a half.

The stylish winner of the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby, Sea The Stars would be stepping into the shoes of the immortal Nijinsky if he could pull off the Guineas/Epsom Derby/Irish Derby triple. A half-brother to Galileo, who won both the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby in 2001, the Cape Cross colt will be even money or thereabouts to get the job done. That is, if he runs at all.

Trainer John Oxx has misgivings about the state of the ground at the Curragh. Rain on Thursday night prompted him to observe that if the Derby had been run on Friday, when the going was good to firm on the round course but only good to yielding on the straight course, Sea The Stars would not have run. Oxx would prefer firm or soft ground. A final decision will not be made on Sea The Stars's participation until Sunday morning. The current weather forecast is mixed.

If he goes, Sea The Stars will be ridden by Michael Kinane.

O'Brien has won the last four runnings of the Irish Derby, but only three of his seven runners have a viable chance of winning this edition. Those three finished second, third, and fourth behind Sea The Stars in the Epsom Derby. Runner-up Fame and Glory was 1 3/4 lengths behind with Jamie Heffernan aboard but will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh on Sunday. Masterofthehorse was a neck farther back and switches from Richard Hughes to Heffernan. Golden Sword was sacrificed as the Ballydoyle rabbit but still held on for fourth, a nose behind Masterofthehorse. He will be ridden once again by Colm O'Donoghue. Keeping it in the family, O'Brien's 16-year-old son Joseph, a 10-pound bugboy, will ride the 500-1 outsider Byzantine. The young O'Brien has won on three of his first 15 mounts in Ireland and was 0 for 1 at Royal Ascot.

Jim Bolger will saddle 2000 Guineas third and Epsom Derby 11th Gan Amhras while Oxx will give Sea The Stars some protection from Gang O'Brien with the Aga Khan's Mourayan, who was second by five lengths behind Fame and Glory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.

* In the Group 2, $173,000 Railway Stakes at 6 furlongs for 2-year-olds, Kitty Kiernan, a Pivotal filly out of a dam who is a half sister to Group 1 juvenile winner Spartacus, may get the better of her six male rivals. The Bolger trainee has split a pair of decisions with Lillie Langtry, who was second in the Goup 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last week.