The absence of So You Think from this afternoon’s Coral-Eclipse at Sandown has denied us one last opportunity to see a horse that has divided opinion ever since his arrival from Australia at the end of 2010.
In truth, So You Think was on a hiding to nothing. He arrived from Australia at Aidan O’Brien’s yard with two Cox Plates amongst his five Group 1 successes from eight runs in the highest company. That’s quite something to live up to. A similar record of five wins from ten Group 1s during last season and this suggests that he has at least matched his reputation.
Success in last year’s Eclipse and the Prince of Wales Stakes at Ascot last month enhanced his status, but successive defeats in the Arc, the Champion Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup were disappointments. They were his last three races in 2011, each in a different country; a season that began early in May and did not finish until November. Perhaps time and travel had taken their toll.
Aidan O’Brien was said to be disappointed not to have got a better return from So You Think during the 20 months he trained the horse. Yet, as Duncan Ramage, speaking for some members of the owning partnership explained, that was a lot to expect. He said, “Aidan was landed with a superstar and left to get on and improve him. There are not many, if any, who can improve on what Bart Cummings does with a horse. Aidan is a great trainer, but he was given a horse and expected to carry on the show faultlessly without the benefit of experience with the horse. I think he’d have won a few more of those races with the benefit of experience with the horse.”
So You Think is already in quarantine for a return to Australia where he will stand at the Coolmore stud. He’s lined up to service some of the top mares from down under, which suggests that he’s still held in the highest regard there. Tom Magnier, who heads up the Coolmore operation in Australia was confident of seeing some high quality offspring in a few years time. He said, “It’s a big disappointment that he’ll miss the Eclipse, but he’s had a wonderful racing career and now it’s time for him to shine at stud. His book reads like a who’s who of all the best nares and breeders, so he’ll get the best possible start.”