After Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes, I’m fairly certain that many of us have run out of ways to describe So You Think. To borrow a line I heard in a commercial, “…all I can say is ‘wow’…”
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched So You Think race, he still continues to amaze me. That was the case once again in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I), run this past Saturday at Leopardstown.
A field of six went to the post in the Irish Champion, and there really wasn’t a slouch in the line up. In addition to So You Think, trainer Aidan O’Brien sent out two others runners, both of whom were group I winners themselves. Roderic O’Connor, ridden by Joseph O’Brien, was a 2011 classic winner, having captured the Irish 2000 Guineas (Ire-I) in May. Recital was a group I winner as a juvenile, and had won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (Ire-II) earlier this season.
Champion Snow Fairy, the dual Oaks winning filly of 2010, posed the biggest threat to So You Think. The daughter of Intikhab had defeated males before, in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (HK-I) late last year.
Juddmonte Farm was represented by the hard-knocking Famous Name, a son of Dansili who was a multiple stakes winner at the group 3 level. The 6-year-old, who was a nine-time winner over the Leopardstown course, was still seeking to notch his first group I victory, after coming oh-so-close on so many occasions.
The one true outsider in this field was the 3-year-old colt Dunboyne Express, a winner at the group 3 level, but unsuccessful (so far) at higher levels.
Well, the race went pretty much as one expected, with So You Think holding off an ultra-tough Snow Fairy to win the race by a half-length.
So, the question is now, where does So You Think race next? It was indicated by John Magnier after the race that a trip to Australia had been ruled out. Even though a ‘three-peat’ in the Cox Plate (Aus-I) would be incredible, it must be felt by the Ballydoyle powers-that-be that (somewhat obviously) the horse is already a proven commodity Down Under, so why go that route again?
Of course, there are now several possible paths that So You Think might take. The hot rumor right now is that he’ll be shorten up to a mile and will take on the fabulous Frankel (I think ‘fabulous’ is part of the colt’s name now) in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) on Oct. 15. He could also go in the 10-furlong Champion Stakes (Eng-I) on that same day. It has also been indicated that So You Think could line up in the 12-furlong Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) on Oct. 2.
Now, I’ve never held a trainer’s license, but I love to play ‘armchair trainer’ as much as the next gal. So, here’s what *I* think Aidan O’Brien will do (here’s my disclaimer stating that Ballydoyle does NOT have my phone number on speed dial, nor am I any sort of paid consultant for Coolmore or the Ballydoyle team…but how I wish I were!). I think Coolmore’s Arc runner (or runners) will be Cape Blanco and/or Treasure Beach…NOT So You Think. Both of those colts are proven at 12 furlongs, and it would set either one up for a return trip to the States. I see both Cape Blanco and Treasure Beach running in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT); if either one wins, they’re champion turf horse in North America. Coolmore would love to stand a son of Galileo in Kentucky, and they would have a great stud prospect in either colt. (the bloodstock industry would jump at the chance to breed to a son of Galileo, I think)
I believe So You Think will run in the Champion, which will set him up perfectly for his Breeders’ Cup race…in the Classic. Yep, call me crazy, but I honestly believe that So You Think, even though he has never started on dirt, would run circles around our best runners here. That includes Stay Thirsty, Tizway, Havre de Grace, etc. I don’t think Coolmore made him eligible for the Breeders’ Cup “just” to run in the Turf. Keep in mind that their intended runner, Await The Dawn, came out of the Juddmonte International (Eng-I) with an undisclosed malady. Whether he’ll be ready in time for the race is up in the air.
So, there you have it. Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, or call me a cab...not only do I think that So You Think runs in the Breeders' Cup Classic....but he WINS it.