So You Think and O'Brien totally eclipse the doubters

Ex-Australian star may take on old rivals at home after clear-cut defeat of Workforce

Undertones of nationalism through the racing weekend ultimately proved discordant for the British, who saw one of their champions beaten on home soil and another chastened on his return to a foreign field. Michael Owen's Brown Panther could not justify his billing as favourite for the German Derby yesterday, while the colt who won the Epsom original last year, Workforce, had succumbed to So You Think, the Australian import, at Sandown the previous afternoon.

Nowadays stabled with Aidan O'Brien in Co Tipperary, So You Think may yet be sent "home" in search of a third success in the Cox Plate this autumn, provided quarantine issues can be resolved. If so, there would be an irresistibly piquant subplot, his former trainer having allowed resentment of his sale and export to fuel some trenchant observations about his new environment. To beat Bart Cummings and company in their own backyard would be especially sweet for O'Brien, who seems to have an inadvertent knack for winding up Australians.

When Cummings won the Melbourne Cup for a 12th time, in 2008, O'Brien saddled three of the last four finishers. Seated at his dinner table in a city hotel, he was astonished and incensed to be summoned back to the track for a stewards' inquest into the tactics used on his runners. In the event, they took no action, but local press and professionals savaged the Ballydoyle jockeys for forcing a reckless pace between them. A former senior steward declared that Johnny Murtagh "obviously had a brain explosion" and should be "ashamed" of his performance. Cummings himself could not resist a dig. "They must believe their own publicity," he said. "I can't believe what they did."

The outspoken octogenarian may well have admitted a corresponding sense of schadenfreude, then, after So You Think's odds-on defeat at Royal Ascot last month. For all his success, including with previous imports in Haradasun and Starspangledbanner, O'Brien will never be as respected or cherished as Cummings in Australia. And there was renewed derision for Ballydoyle's tactics after O'Brien's teenage son had a rather chastening experience on the pacemaker at Ascot. Characteristically, however, the harshest criticism was that reserved by O'Brien for his own role.

He immediately suggested that he had miscalculated the volume of work required to bring So You Think to his peak, and appeared to be vindicated in that judgement on Saturday. The notion that a gruelling race at Ascot could "put him right" for Sandown would ordinarily sound quite outlandish, but So You Think palpably sustained an unflinching charge at Workforce through the final two furlongs.

It was gratifying to see the race play out so consistently with its billing as a showdown between two of the best thoroughbreds from either side of the Equator. They had certainly looked the part beforehand. So You Think is so physically intimidating that the process of dominating his rivals begins long before he starts extending that vast stride out on the track. And Workforce, his brawny shoulders rolling, has developed into a captivating composite of solid bulk and liquid movement.

The race was set up perfectly by Jimmy Fortune, who showed exactly how a pacemaker should be ridden on Confront. Aside from pulling wide as Ryan Moore struck for home – fully three furlongs out, in an effort to bring his mount's stamina to bear – Fortune further obliged Workforce by hemming Seamus Heffernan against the rail for as long as he could. As a result, So You Think had to get through the gears fairly hastily, and the final margin of half a length does inadequate justice to the authority of his inexorable challenge.

Heffernan coolly resisted any temptation to force his way out and deserves to retain the ride, regardless of Moore's availability next time. Workforce was by no means diminished by defeat, and connections are entitled to hope that he could yet embellish his stud profile with a Group One success over 10 furlongs, but their priority will be the defence of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

Moore rejoined the Ballydoyle cause in France yesterday when narrowly foiled on Zoffany in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. Richard Hughes gave the Jersey Stakes winner, Strong Suit, an artful ride from the front and was collared only in the dying strides, with Mutual Trust sticking his nose in front just in time under Maxime Guyon and holding the slightly awkward Zoffany in a three-way photo. The winner, trained by André Fabre for Khaled Abdulla, is now unbeaten in four starts and may now meet Goldikova at Deauville next month.

The most intriguing overseas raid of the day, however, was that of Brown Panther, whose owner once made a global breakthrough on German turf. This colt had given Owen his biggest success in the sport when running away with a handicap at Royal Ascot, but could manage no better than fifth behind Waldmark. Richard Kingscote evidently abandoned the script when electing to make the running, but managed to get plenty of his pursuers off the bridle in the testing conditions before fading late on. It was a perfectly creditable effort from a colt taking a big step up in class, and there is always a possibility that the race may have come a little soon after his generous effort at Ascot. The winner was the only unbeaten colt in the field and Andreas Wöhler, who also saddled the runner-up, Earl Of Tinsdal, may well train him for the Arc.

Turf account

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Spanish Pride (4.00 Brighton)

Looked to have been given a fair rating when shaping very well on her comeback at Sandown last month, soon having plenty to do but staying on well, and looks sure to be sharper this time.



* Next best

Elusive Prince (8.20 Ripon)

Looked an improver in two wins over course and distance before a pardonable failure in a fiercely competitive handicap at York last time, and can resume his progress back down in grade today.



* One to watch

Lucky Money (Sir Mark Prescott) was extremely green on his debut at Yarmouth last week but ultimately gathered good momentum into midfield and will be more streetwise next time.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesChuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf