So You Think can make amends on Ascot stage
Anyone thinking that odds of 1/3 represent value about Black Caviar living up to the hype at Royal Ascot on Saturday might do well to consider the precedent set by So You Think.
Another Australian import that arrived at Ballydoyle with similarly mythical status, the six-year-old today has a second tilt at the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, the very race in which his colossal reputation first began to disintegrate last year.
Sent off at an SP of 4/11 in the 10-furlong Group One 12 months ago, having strolled to a pair of relatively meaningless Curragh triumphs, the son of High Chaparral proved far more mortal than we had been led to believe when failing to repel the challenge of Rewilding after Ryan Moore committed early.
So You Think made amends by justifying similar odds in the Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes, but the impression that he was no more or less than a very good horse was confirmed when he subsequently came up short in the 'Arc', Champion Stakes, Breeders' Cup and Dubai World Cup.
Time has ultimately revealed the southern hemisphere form that saw him readily amass five Group Ones, including two Cox Plates, to be vastly inferior to that which is required at the very highest level, a point that might have far more significance for Black Caviar come Saturday were the Aussie sprinting sensation's rivals not so thin on the ground.
As for today, So You Think again lines out on the back of what amounted to a routine piece of work in the latest substandard renewal of the Tattersalls Gold Cup. Michael Stoute's Carlton House, third and fourth in last year's Epsom and Irish Derbies respectively, and Alain de Royer Dupre's Reliable Man are likely dangers in an 11-strong field that lacks real depth. All told, though, this is a decent opportunity for So You Think to bring his Group One tally to five since joining Aidan O'Brien.
In this company, he sets a clear form standard, and the chances of a repeat of last year's tactical faux pas are unlikely with the trainer's excellent 19-year-old son Joseph seemingly unfazed by occasions of such intense expectation.
The O'Briens also have a live chance in the Jersey Stakes with Reply, a consistent colt that was third to Power in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and is joined in the 26-runner Group Three by stable-mate Ishvana, runner-up to Samitar in the fillies' equivalent at the Curragh.
On what has the makings of a cracking afternoon for the raiding party at the glorious Berkshire venue, Emulous, Mironica and Duntle could all contribute on behalf of the fairer sex.
Mironica, a game juvenile scorer at Naas on her only previous start in May, will have to be plenty smart if she is to supply David Wachman with his second Queen Mary following Damson's triumph in 2004.
While we know relatively little about Wayne Lordan's mount, however, Emulous is a mare whose capabilities are well established and the Dermot Weld-trained five-year-old is fancied to deliver in the Windsor Forest Stakes.
In five starts last year, she was beaten only by the 2011 winner of this, Lolly For Dolly, on her reappearance. She concluded by claiming a debut Group One in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in September and is preferred here to Roger Varian's Prix de l'Opera heroine Nahrain, which hasn't run since coming up just short at the Breeders' Cup in November.
Weld's easy Tipperary winner Rock Critic and Curragh-based Takashi Kodama's King's Trail look up against it in the Hunt Cup, but Duntle is another of Wachman's that warrants an each-way venture in the Sandringham. An 18-length winner of a Dundalk maiden, the big chestnut mare is hugely unexposed and looks eager to please.
3.45 So You Think
4.25 Captain Bertie