10/03/2009 11:00PM

Sea the Stars looking just heavenly

Edward Whitaker/Racing Post
Sea the Stars, here winning the Juddmonte International, appears to be coming into the Arc at the top of his game.

PARIS - There are signs in the sun and the stars that Sea the Stars will enter into the firmament of Thoroughbred legend at Longchamp on Sunday when victory in the $5.8 million Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe requires nothing more than a repetition of any of his previous five Group 1 victories this season.

Not only is the John Oxx-trained son of Cape Cross in peak form as he comes into this gala event that will unroll before 50,000 people at the track nestled in the corner of the Bois de Boulogne, but the gods have looked kindly upon him by providing sunny skies and balmy breezes upon the Paris region all week long. Sea the Stars will thus be running on what Oxx considers ideal good ground.

Moreover, Sea the Stars, the highest-rated horse in the world, has drawn well in post 6 in the 19-runner field. From there, jockey Michael Kinane should be able to maneuver into a spot from which Sea the Stars can unleash his devastating attack once the field turns into the

2 1/2-furlong stretch.

Foaled by the 1993 Arc winner, Urban Sea, Sea the Stars has already beaten his main rival Fame and Glory twice this season. The first time came at the Arc distance of

1 1/2 miles when he prevailed by

1 3/4 lengths in the Epsom Derby. Four weeks ago he was even more impressive when he pulled away from Fame and Glory, the Aidan O'Brien-trained son of 1999 Arc winner Montjeu, by 2 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion Stakes. Fame and Glory's owners, Coolmore & Co., will be hoping that Fame and Glory will improve off that race. The Irish Derby winner, Fame and Glory was running for the first time in 10 weeks in the Irish Champion.

Can anything else challenge Sea the Stars? Youmzain has finished second in the last two runnings of the Arc, to Dylan Thomas and Zarkava, but was only third last time in the Grosser Preis von Baden. He will be ridden by Kieren Fallon, who will be making his first appearance in France since having piloted Dylan Thomas to his 2007 Arc triumph. But Youmzain does not appear to be the horse he once was.

All those searching for Breeders' Cup Turf clues should keep an eye on Conduit. The defending Turf champ returned to his best form with a victory in the 1 1/2-mile King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 25, but this Michael Stoute-trained son of the 2003 Arc winner, Dalakhani, has not run since then. The only horse to make the King George-Arc leap successfully was Lammtarra in 1995. Conduit will be facing the toughest field he has ever encountered on Sunday and will be a better bet at Santa Anita.

Cavalryman, trained by Andre Fabre for Godolphin, was victorious in the most informative of all Arc preps in recent years, the Prix Niel. His victory in that Group 2 trial three weeks ago made him a two-time Arc course-and-distance winner, as he had previously won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris. On Sunday, however, he will be facing older horses for the first time, and even Fabre has expressed doubts about his chances.

Spanish Moon, the winner of the Arc prep for older horses, the Prix Foy, will sidestep the big race for a possible go at the Canadian International. The Foy runner-up, Vision d'Etat, is some people's idea of the Arc upsetter. Last year's French Derby winner looked like he would prefer 12 furlongs when he ran down Tartan Bearer to win the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes in June. He wasn't fully wound up and was not given a hard time of it when he was three-quarters of a length behind Spanish Moon in the Foy.

As if the presence of Sea the Stars in this 90th running of Europe's championship race was not interesting enough, an intriguing subplot will be played out between the fillies Dar Re Mi and Stacelita.

Owner Andrew Lloyd-Webber and trainer John Gosden thought that Dar Re Mi had landed her third straight Group 1 success on Sept. 13 when she came late to defeat Stacelita in the Prix Vermeille. But Dar Re Mi was disqualified for what appeared to be a phantom foul against the fifth-place finisher, Soberania. The race was awarded to Stacelita, Lloyd-Webber's appeal was rejected, and the two fillies will go at it again on Sunday, when French Oaks winner Stacelita will try to extend her unbeaten record to seven.

Of the others, Getaway makes a nice dark horse for Germany off his facile three-length score in the Grosser Preis von Baden, but the Brazilian invader Hot Six has come a long way with much to prove.

Michael Kinane must be itching for a third Arc victory. He rode Carroll House to win 20 years ago in 1989 and repeated 10 years later in 1999 with Montjeu. That another 10 years have passed since his last Arc triumph could be another sign from above that Sea the Stars is poised for the biggest victory of his career.