This coming Sunday the wonder horse from Down Under So You Think will dip his hoof into European Group 1 territory when he lines up in the Tatterstalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.
So You Think exploded onto the European flat racing scene when he made his debut in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh last month. He didn’t disappoint. So You Think oozed class and readily put his rivals away and won by an easy ten lengths. In truth it could have been twenty plus lengths. It was a performance that smacked of real talent and boded well for his campaign in Europe.
But the story of So You Think goes far beyond a Group race at the Curragh. This is a horse that captured a nation and caused heartbreak when he was sold. He was bred in New Zealand and was by the Coolmore sire and dual Derby winner High Chaparral who was sent Down Under after failing to inspire with his first European crop of runners. His dam was Triassic who was related to some high class runners down the years.
There have been better bred horses in the southern hemisphere over the decades but from the out-set this horse stood out. He had the look of a champion. As a yearling he stood head and shoulders above the rest of the group. He was very well developed for his age to which added to his aura.
When he was sold as a yearling he attracted considerable interest. He was knocked down to a legend in Australian racing in Bart Cumming who would train the horse. He would later say that So You Think was one of the best horses he ever trained.
As a three year old So You Think won two out of his four starts before he tackled the prestigious Cox Plate which ranks only second to the Melbourne Cup in prestige terms. It’s generally considered that you need a horse with experience to win the Cox Plate. So You Think was discounted because of his lack of experience.
He proved the doubters wrong with a victory from the front in a very quick time. It propelled him into superstar status. He captured another Grade 1 on his next start which added to his lustre. It was however what he did in his four year old career that captured people’s attention not least the people at Coolmore.
After winning another two Grade 1 races He did what few horses achieve when he won the Cox Plate for a second year in a row. He became the youngest horse in history to win back to back runnings of the Cox Plate.
Even more remarkably he would win yet another Grade 1 race just a week later. Following that win he was sent off red hot favourite for the Melbourne Cup where he ran a huge race to finish third. That race prompted Coolmore to pay reputed Aus$25 million for a majority stake in the horse. His trainer Bart Cummings was distraught saying ““I think it’s a great tragedy for racing. People love this horse.”
To put his season into a European context So You Think was rated equal Champion Intermediate (Middle Distance) Turf Performer in the 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings along with Rip Van Winkle and Cape Blanco.
One of the major reasons for Coolmore purchasing So You Think is for his breeding career. He is the most successful son of High Chaparral and if he were to win one or two of the best Group 1’s in Europe like the King George or the Arc his value as a stallion would double or even triple.
Since he arrived in Ireland So You Think has made quite the impression on his new trainer. Speaking after his European debut Aidan O Brien was glowing in his praise of the colt “He’s only been doing half speeds at home and was just ready to start today. You couldn’t have asked for more, he’s an incredible specimen and it’s a privilege to have him.”
No matter who turns up to face So You Think they will have their work cut out to stop him landing his first Group 1 in Europe. Punters who go to the Curragh this Sunday will be treated to something special.