So You Think repels strong Fairy challenge

O'Brien's five year-old is pushed all the way by determined giant filly but holds on to land Ireland's premier 10-furlong contest

It was supposed to be little more than a paid piece of exercise, but in the end So You Think had to work for victory in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday evening. It was by only half a length that the imposing black five-year-old repelled the gallant filly Snow Fairy to take the £377,826 prize for Ireland's premier 10-furlong contest. Still, earnings of about £2,000 a stride as a shake-down before a tilt at even more valuable prizes later in the autumn can count as a good night's work.

So You Think, the pride of Australia before his transfer to Ballydoyle and the Coolmore partners' colours for this year's Northern Hemisphere campaign, swept past his pacemaker Roderic O'Connor after the turn to the straight with just the contempt that a seven-time top-level winner and 1-4 favourite should display.

Rider Seamie Heffernan was almost motionless at that point, but had to get animated as Snow Fairy – another top-class globetrotter – delivered a spirited and determined challenge under Frankie Dettori through the final furlong. So You Think, though, has determination as well as class – as he showed when defeating Workforce in the Eclipse Stakes two months ago on his previous outing – and Aidan O'Brien's seventh victory in the Group 1 race was secure.

"It was a long time since he'd run, and we were a bit worried about that," said O'Brien, "and we knew he'd be there to be shot at and that Snow Fairy would stalk. But he was very professional when she put it up to him."

So You Think is among the favourites for next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but Coolmore boss John Magnier is keeping options open, one of them thoroughly tantalising. "He's the kind of horse that spoils you for choice," said Magnier. "There is the Arc, but there's also the races at Ascot, the mile race or the mile and a quarter. But a return down under is not imminent." The 'mile race' is the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on the inaugural Qipco Champions Day in October, which would involve a clash with mighty Frankel.

Snow Fairy, six lengths clear of Famous Name, bounced back to the form that brought her four top-level victories, including in Japan and Hong Kong. "I'm very proud," said trainer Ed Dunlop. "Arguably, that was the best run of her life."

The six Group 1 sprints run in Europe so far have not revealed a clear-cut champion but the best of a closely matched bunch is probably Dream Ahead, who yesterday afternoon became the first to win two at the top level this term when he added the Sprint Cup at Haydock to his July Cup.

But only just; as at Newmarket, the runner-up was Bated Breath, though just a nose behind this time, rather than half a length. And only a head adrift came Hoof It.

Tall, muscular Dream Ahead, who dwarfs most of his rivals physically, may well be the nearest equine embodiment of Usain Bolt, but one thing the big dark brown colt lacks is the 200 metres world champion's co-ordination and concentration. And it nearly cost him yesterday's Betfred-sponsored £133,722 prize.

While he was chasing the pace, Dream Ahead, the 4-1 favourite, was patently going best of all, galloping smoothly and powerfully. But once William Buick sent him past Wootton Bassett and Sole Power and into the lead inside the last quarter of a mile, he began – not for the first time – to veer this way and that.

A swerve in the last half-furlong across Hoof It prompted an inquiry by the stewards, but the finishing order remained unchanged. "If he'd got beat," said Buick, "I would have had to say to him 'you threw it away'. But he did hold on. He's got a big head and that must help in a photo-finish."

The first three all drew a line under previous disappointments. Dream Ahead, trained by David Simcock in Newmarket had flopped at even–money behind Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. "After France we were scratching our heads," said Simcock, "so this has been a massive relief."

Bated Breath's defeat was offset by two items of solace for owner Khaled Abdullah. In the morning in Newmarket, his St Leger favourite Sea Moon produced a stunning workout ahead of Saturday's final Classic. In the evening at Leopardstown, the filly Emulous saw off the Ballydoyle pair Together and Misty For Me to notch her first Group 1 success in the Matron stakes.

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
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

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable)

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...

Senior IT Trainer - Buckinghamshire - £250 - £350 p/d

£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star