A clash is looming between dual Cox Plate winner So You Think and the world’d highest rated racehorse Frankel in the Group 1 £175,000 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19.
So You Think has returned to the stables of top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien after finishing fourth to Monterosso in the Group 1 US$10m Dubai World Cup (2000m) at Meydan on March 31.
The High Chaparral stallion will be more at home on the turf after being unsuccessful at several attempts on dirt and artificial surfaces.
So You Think has won four times for O’Brien since being sold and transferred out of the Bart Cummings stable after finishing third to Americain in the 2010 Group 1 AUS$6m Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington with three of those wins at Group 1 level.
If O’Brien is pleased with the recovery of So You Think after his tough run in Dubai there is a good chance that he will take on Frankel at Newbury.
Sir Henry Cecil has nursed Frankel back to top health after the unbeaten four year old threw a scare into the camp when he pulled up lame after a gallop on April 11 and has pencilled in the Lockinge Stakes for his return to the race track.
The world’ number galloper hasn’t started since winning the Group 1 £1,000,000 Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes (1609m) at Ascot last October but was declared ready by the Cecil stable with a testing gallop at Newmarket over the weekend.
Frankel was put through his paces alongside stable companions up the Rowley Mile and burst clear over the final stages of the gallop to signal there are no problems with his troublesome leg.
“He really enjoyed himself and was very relaxed. Going down to the start he was switched off and after the work he had a little bit of a blow – you can’t be anything but pleased,” Cecil said.
“He’s grown a bit, he’s stronger and he’s getting much more sensible. That was the worry, but now he is settling and maybe there will be more improvement to come.”
“I think everything looks good for the Lockinge, before which he will need another two to three bits of work, but at the moment everything is fine. If the ground is soft (at Newbury) I don’t think that will worry him at all, and we know he gets a mile really well.”
Meanwhile Coolmore have announced that Starspangledbanner could return to the racetrack after failing to overcome a fertility problem at stud.
The five year old was sold to Coolmore after winning the 2009 Caulfield Guineas and the 2010 Oakleigh Plate for Melbourne trainer Leon Corstens.
He was then taken over by O’Brien to win the 2010 Group 1 £255,465 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (1200m) and the 2010 Group 1 £227,080 Darley July Cup (1207m) at Newmarket.