No great surprise there, but racing really needs to do something about keeping its superstars in the game for longer. One season is not enough to class him as a true champion - you have to come back and defend your crowns to earn that. As a 2yo, he showed potential, at 3 he was the best by far and at 4 and beyond he'll be shagging his life away making his shareholders very rich, and hopefully throwing some talented progeny.
So what can flat racing do to prolong the racing careers of its stars? Jumping tops the popularity stakes in Britain mostly because Kauto Star, Denman, Hardy Eustace, Istabraq and other stars come back year after year. The public feel a connection with these horses built up over more than a few months.
Here's an idea - create a jackpot pool so that any horse who wins a feature, open age Group I race two years in a row gets a bonus on top of the winner's cheques. So if Sea The Stars collected £1m for winning the Arc, next year he would be racing for an extra million or two on top. In all likelihood, it probably wouldn't have stopped Sea The Stars going to stud, but those around him who might win one or two big races might just hang around a bit longer.
European prizemoney isn't strong enough on its own to keep the great flat horses in training and it's a major shame. Australia doesn't have it quite so bad, good horses go to stud early but the Aussies do over-race as two-year-olds so you tend to have early performers at two and three, and another group maturing into top performers at three, four, five... Japan has even bigger prizemoney than Australia, what's it like there?
The Racing For Change committee is looking for ways to improve the industry, particularly flat racing. Create the incentives for the top horses to stay in training and let geldings compete in the big races. The rest of the world has no problem with it, so stop bowing to the breeders who get rich while the racing public aer only allowed brief glimpses of stardom. Racing should be about RACING and not the sales catalogues.