The English press is still divided over the stature of multiple Group 1 winner So You Think with the announcement that the six year old has been ruled out of the Group 1 £400,000 Coral – Eclipse (1 mile 2 furlongs 7 yards) at Sandown on Saturday.
The ten times Group 1 winner was found to have pulled muscles in his hind quarters and Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien confirmed that the stallion will be heading back to Australia to take up stud duties at Coolmore without another race start.
“So You Think is an extraordinary horse and it was a real privilege to have had him here at Ballydoyle on loan from Australia,” O’Brien said.
Coolmore’s Australian Racing and New Business Manager Tom Magnier said the Australian arm of Coolmore was very excited at the prospect of So You Think getting ready to stand his first season at a fee of $66,000.
“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,” said Magnier.
“His book reads like a who’s who of all the best mares and breeders so he’ll get the best possible start.”
O’Brien was able to add five Group 1s to So You Think’s Australian Group 1 record when trained by Cups King Bart Cummings who claimed five wins at the top level including two $3m Cox Plates.
But prominent English racing newspaper the Racing Post only rated So You Think as just a consistent Group 1 performer.
And while journalist Richard Birch stated that he thought So You Think had proven himself in the Northern Hemisphere, his fellow writer Nick Watts says that the stallion had not lived up to the hype that preceded him before arriving at the O’Brien stable in Ireland.
”He is no superstar but a rock-solid, highly consistent, likeable Group 1 performer with an excellent attitude whose presence has enriched the British and Irish racing scenes. It is not his fault he was hyped out of all proportion by some who had never even seen him in the flesh,” Birch wrote.
Watts view wasn’t as complementary even though the son of High Chaparral was regarded as the most dominant middle distance weight for age galloper in Australia since Kingston Town and has recorded the most Group 1 wins for an Australian galloper in the Northern Hemisphere.
”So You Think was billed as the ‘second coming’ prior to his arrival in Ireland last year, but has not lived up to that status since joining Aidan O’Brien,” Watts said.
”Everyone was expecting fireworks but they have materialised rarely. So You Think is what he is – a solid Group 1 horse but not a spectacular one.”
O’Brien also admitted that he only started to get the best out of So You Think when he listened to advice coming out of Australia and was to produce him to end his racing career with two Group 1 victories.
”We have had him a year and a half and it has taken me a year and a half to learn how to train him,” O’Brien said.
”I was probably working him too often, too long and too hard. I was killing him by making him grind but even so he was still very competitive.”
”All I can say is that I am sorry that I took so long to get him to show. It’s only because he is such a great horse otherwise I would have made a right muck of him.”
So You Think was back to his best with a six length win in the Group 1 £165,000 Tattersalls Gold Cup (1 mile, 2 1/4 furlongs) at the Curragh on May 27 then repeated that effort with a two and a quarter length win over Charlton House in the Group 1 £400,000 150th Anniversary Of Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 20.