Leading Irish handicapper Garry O’Gorman has ripped into the Australian staying ranks referring to them as the pygmies that made So You Think a giant.
The co-chairman of the world rankings supervisory committee justified his claims by saying not a single rival of So You Think managed a world rating above 120.
“The standard of horses running in Australia over 10 furlongs (2000m) has been very average in the last couple of years even by Australian standards with this year’s Cox Plate winner, Pinker Pinker, only rated 116 ,” he said.
As harsh as it sounds there’s probably not much you could argue about the claims, especially given the record of some Europeans that have come here.
Glass Harmonium and Mourayan were moderate at best in the top company back home but they managed to quinella the Group 1 Mackinnon over the spring.
While you could say they’ve improved since their time in the UK the fact remains Glass Harmonium finished five lengths off the pace in both the Prince of Wales and the Champion Stakes.
“He managed to win the Mackinnon in 2011 beating Mourayan, again well exposed and average enough in Europe,” O’Gorman said.
So You Think was rated the joint world champion with a score of 126 at the end of the 2009 / 2010 season alongside Irish horses Cape Blanco and Rip Van Winkle.
O’Gorman stopped short of saying that mark was undeserved, in fact he even agreed he should retain that score from this year’s efforts.
“He was a well above average, arguably exceptional, Australian champion,” he said.
“In 2011, So You Think was again rated 126 at year’s end and had another remarkably successful season.
“I had him running to 126 on no less than six occasions with excuses for his only below par performances (122 – Arc , 2400m, bad draw, held up) and Breeders Cup (119 – unfamiliar dirt surface, rain softened).
“The international handicappers were unanimous in having him run right up to his very best in defeat against both Rewilding (127) in the Prince of Wales at Royal Ascot and against Cirrus des Aigles (128) in the Champions Stakes.
“It was that handicapping background that led me to describe So You Think as a giant among pygmies in Australia given his considerable superiority over a very average crop of 2000m horses.”
While some may be angered by the bluntness of his approach, with just two Aussie bred and trained stayers in the 2011 Melbourne Cup there’s certainly work to be done.