So You Think looks a real banker to prove Aussie sceptics right
Wednesday 15 June 2011
Even Bart Cummings, his former trainer, might grudgingly upgrade the standard of opposition to So You Think this afternoon – but not by a great deal. Last month, the man who has saddled 11 Melbourne Cup winners notoriously disparaged his exported champion's new environment as "not worth two bob" after So You Think strolled to victory in his first two starts for Aidan O'Brien. And while he faces a rather more meaningful examination today, So You Think will again start at odds-on for the Prince of Wales's Stakes. It is extremely difficult to envisage defeat.
Rewilding, in fairness, has proved himself a genuine Group One colt, but must disclose a new dimension dropped to 10 furlongs today. Certainly, he took his time getting through the gears over a mile and a half, when winning in Dubai back in March, but at least confirmed himself best fresh that day. Twice Over, meanwhile, failed only narrowly to run down Byword in this race last year, but should have fared better than he did at Newbury last month. The most plausible threat to the favourite instead appears to be Planteur, whose form at Longchamp last month has proved solid. But he has no pretensions to being an outstanding champion, and So You Think (3.45) must win in style if he is to dominate a middle-distance division that will sooner or later oblige him to deal with those two-bit Derby winners, Workforce and Pour Moi.
The rest of the card, in contrast, looks as horribly competitive as you would expect. The Jersey Stakes, for instance, matches horses with runs on the board – not least a couple placed in Classics on their latest start, in Havane Smoker and Oracle – against rapid improvers such as Codemaster and Western Aristocrat. It is tempting to remain faithful to Strong Suit, who looked top-class at this meeting last year and has had a wind operation since proving such a letdown on his reappearance. Even if back to his best, however, he has his work cut out under a penalty, and the drop in trip looks a typically astute move by the trainer of Fury (2.30), William Haggas. Caught out by a messy race at Kempton last time, this colt had previously shown plenty of dash even in the hopeless pursuit of Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas.
Haggas also has a strongly fancied candidate in the Royal Hunt Cup, Green Destiny, but the furious gallop at this trip could prompt a shock intervention from Pendragon (4.25), who has shaped with discreet promise in both starts this term.
The remainder of the card is confined to fillies. Shumoos looked potentially top-class on her debut but the odds do not permit much margin for error and we have seen enough of Wesley Ward's speedballs to know that Gypsy Robin (5.00) could be too hot to handle in the Queen Mary Stakes. She blitzed a subsequent winner by seven and a half lengths on her debut and they may not see which way she goes. Luca Cumani has sound prospects in both the other races, through Seta (3.05) and Dubai Queen (5.35).
Chris McGrath's Nap
Pendragon (4.25 Ascot) Both starts this term have promised still more improvement than he showed in winning six times last year – and he is guaranteed to adore the frantic gallop.
Dubai Queen (5.35 Ascot) Top-class pedigree and cosily saw off all those who contested the pace when taking on colts at Newmarket last time, only to be collared by a well treated one.
One to watch
Gatepost (Mick Channon) Had shown speed to win both his previous starts over 5f but relished the extra furlong when staying on strongly from off the pace in the Coventry Stakes yesterday.
Where the money's going
Star Witness, the Australian sprinter, is 4-1 favourite from 7-1 with William Hill for the Golden Jubilee Stakes on Saturday after his excellent effort in defeat here yesterday.
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