For many it’s been inevitable that the light surrounding a third Cox Plate for So You Think would be snuffed out, but it continues to flicker, if only slightly.
The quarantine drama which has affected horses right around the world ahead of the spring carnival appears to have been sorted, however that was just one of the boxes which needed to be ticked for the two time Cox Plate champion to return home.
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection service approved So You Think’s Ballydoyle stable as a suitable pre-export facility allowing trainer Aidan O’Brien much more flexibility in creating overseas plans.
It means that both the Australian and Cox Plate nominated stablemate Cape Blanco could fit in a Melbourne tip far more easily on their schedules.
While O’Brien says he’s pleased that his stables have been passed by the quarantine service, that doesn’t mean he’s any closer to a decision about the Cox Plate.
“We are delighted that Ballydoyle was passed as a quarantine unit, and we thank Racing Victoria for their help in this matter,” O’Brien said.
“In relation to the two horses mentioned in the Cox Plate entries, the decision on So You Think’s program will be made after the Irish Champion Stakes (September 3).
“In relation to Cape Blanco, he has a number of options, and the Cox Plate remains one of them.”
Obviously O’Brien is keeping all his options open at the present time and the horses performances will deem which route they follow.
Only he knows though just what performances will dictate what future campaign.
There’s every likelihood that should So You Think keep winning that may actually mean he’s more likely to stay in the UK, while poor runs could see him sent south.
He is already the winner of the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes and will earn a direct invitation to the US Breeders Cup if he were to when next start in the Irish Champion Stakes.
Many have highlighted the fact that although being considered one of the best middle distance runners of the modern era, So You Think has never claimed an award reflecting that.
Despite four Group 1 victories in five races last season it wasn’t enough to score him the Australian Horse of the Year honour during a period where Black Caviar rose to prominence.
Almost any other year in history he would have been a shoe in but up against a never before seen 14 race winning streak there was little he could do given overseas runs do not count.
He couldn’t pick up his state level award either because Black Caviar is also trained out of Victoria.
He also doesn’t qualify for International Performer of the year honours because that prize can only be awarded to horses which are Australian bred (So You Think was bred in New Zealand).
As for winning the New Zealand horse of the year title then that’s also off the cards given that to achieve that a horse must also be trained by a kiwi.
As a European runner he’s effectively out of the running as well given that he’s run into the ‘European Black Caviar’ in the form of the unbeaten Frankel.
While he seems to have found just about every loophole to do himself out of major recognition, the fact is his on track results can’t be taken away and a third straight Cox Plate would definitely secure his spot in the history books.