Click above to watch So You Think winning the Irish Champion Stakes (G1)
(Photo : The Guardian - Footage : RTE Two)
RED MILLS IRISH CHAMPION STAKES (G1)
Leopardsdown, Turf, 2200m
4 September 2011
The G1 Irish Champion Stakes, inaugurated in 1976 and run at Phoenix Park for a spell, really started to emerge as a leading staging post on the international calendar from the late 1990’s and has subsequently boasted some serious showdowns. Fantastic Light (USA) versus Galileo (Ire) and Dylan Thomas (Ire) against Ouija Board (GB) are just two of the recent clashes witnessed at Foxrock, and this year’s edition threatened to be substandard with just three rivals from outside Ballydoyle and only one of those with a success at the top level.
So You Think’s (NZ) (High Chaparral) position among the best that his stable had run in this contest was secured with a latest defeat of Workforce (GB) (King’s Best) when that rival was on one of his going days in the Eclipse. Whether his prior defeat by Rewilding (GB) (Tiger Hill) in the G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot June 15 was a fair reflection of his merit is debatable, but it showed a vulnerability that was unexpected after all his Australian conquests and all the talk that accompanied his move to Europe.
Snow Fairy has been upstaged by the likes of Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream) on more than one occasion, so while she is not in the Ouija Board category yet, her presence in this line-up ensured there would be no saunter around for the favourite as there had been on his first two starts this term in The Curragh’s May 2 G3 Mooresbridge Stakes and May 22 G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.
After a textbook first mile racing off an ideal tempo set by his Classic-winning stable companion Roderic O’Connor, So You Think was allowed no breathing space by the filly as soon as he was committed by Seamus Heffernan. For a few yards there were shades of Rewilding about her determined charge, but the long odds-on choice dug deep to maintain his advantage and deny the upset.
“He is getting more uncomplicated and idled a bit in front and gave a blow” Heffernan offered. “When you are on him, you are on the king of the road. Settling him was going to be a bit of a problem, but I was confident I could do that after the Eclipse. When he settles, he’d go over any trip.”
With the Irish Champion in the bag as expected, Coolmore’s John Magnier reflected on possible targets and gave a clear indication that a tilt at another Cox Plate was off the agenda. “You never say never, but it’s not imminent,” Magnier said of a possible return to So You Think’s old stomping ground. “He’s the kind of horse who spoils you for options, so what we’ll do I don’t know. He could run in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes or G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot October 15, or the October 2nd Arc. It will be one of those I guess, but we are not going to rush into a decision. He’s a good horse, Snow Fairy is a good filly, and it was a good race. He’s no different to what he was in Australia - we just wanted people up here to see what he was like, and it makes him a real dual-hemisphere horse, so he’s a rare type. Royal Ascot wasn’t one of our best days, but other than that, this horse’s record is there for everyone to see.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News