Thursday 22 February 2018

So You Think a cut above the rest in Prince of Wales's

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Judging by his recent outburst and the opposition that So You Think faces this afternoon, Australian Bart Cummings is unlikely to feel compelled to stay up late tonight to watch the horse that he deems the best he has ever trained in action at Royal Ascot.

Following So You Think's dismissal of inferior rivals in the Tattersalls Gold Cup last month, the legendary Australian handler declared that he hadn't bothered to watch the Group One until the following morning.

The forthright 83-year-old had made no secret of his disgust at the way Coolmore pinched his prize asset from under his nose by seizing a controlling share from the horse's Malaysian owner Dato Tan Chin Nam.

It was an added insult, then, to see this equine colossus, which captured Australian hearts so fervently by winning back-to-back renewals of the Cox Plate prior to signing off with a brave third in the Melbourne Cup, simply go through the motions at The Curragh.

Whether the likes of Twice Over, Planteur or Rewilding can ask more serious questions in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Ascot today is doubtful.


The 10-furlong showpiece is certainly the best race So You Think has contested since joining Aidan O'Brien. His six opponents have amassed seven Group Ones between them, the improving Planteur's facile triumph in the Ganay at Longchamp in April one of the most striking.

Still, on all the available evidence, not to mention the excited tweeting of O'Brien's wife Anne Marie as So You Think completed an impressive workout at Ballydoyle on Saturday, the rest are playing for places. Regardless of his Curragh opposition, So You Think, a hugely imposing individual, turned in a flawless performance.

He comes here now amid the world of expectation, but O'Brien, who produced Antipodean imports Starspangledbanner and Haradasun to deliver at the royal fixture in recent years, has few peers when it comes to priming such a high-profile challenger for the big day. With Ryan Moore up, So You Think ought to further enhance his already enormous reputation.

O'Brien, who also saddles Jan Vermeer in the Prince of Wales's, sends out the first of eight Irish runners on the card in the Jersey Stakes.

Oracle, third behind Roderic O'Connor and Dubawi Gold in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, is another decent mount for Moore.

Codemaster and Fury are the two to beat in this Group Three. Fury, in particular, is feared on the strength of his back-to-form second at Sandown last month.

Nonetheless, if Oracle can reproduce his Curragh effort, he could give O'Brien a first success in this since Mozart 10 years ago. With the drop in trip to seven furlongs fancied to suit, he may represent value at up to 11/2.

Now that the ground at the Berkshire venue has dried up again, Tommy Stack's Lolly For Dolly is probably up against it in the subsequent Windsor Forest Stakes.

A better prospect may be Andy Oliver's Super Say in the Royal Hunt Cup.

The Intikhab five-year-old progressed throughout last year to win twice on fast going. He confirmed that development by scoring off a career-high mark of 99 at The Curragh a month ago. In just his second season racing, Ben Curtis' mount could still have more in him off a new rating of 98.

In the Queen Mary, Jim Bolger's Tipperary winner Somasach has a squeak, as does David Wachman's Fire Lily. Of all the 14 runners in the five-furlong fillies' Group Two, though, few are as intriguing as Gypsy Robin, which represents Wesley Ward, the Californian-based handler who plundered the prize with Jealous Again in 2009.

Selections: 2.30 Oracle; 3.05 Seta; 3.45 So You Think; 4.25 Super Say; 5.0 Gypsy Robin; 5.35 Humdrum.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport