So You Think lined up for Dubai prize


Chris McGrath
Monday 16 January 2012 01:00
Aidan O'Brien: The trainer is aiming his top older horse at the world's richest race
Aidan O'Brien: The trainer is aiming his top older horse at the world's richest race

Perhaps smarting from recent remarks by Ireland's official handicapper, connections of So You Think yesterday targeted a prize commensurate with the reputation that preceded him from Australia.

So You Think is being aimed at the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup, in en effort to restore the gloss worn away by four defeats in his last six starts. Each could in itself be counted a top-class effort but his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, remained adamant that the horse's full potential has yet to be realised.

His next project is arguably most significant as a further thaw in the icy relations between Coolmore and the Maktoum brothers, perennial antagonists both on the track and in the sales ring. Last year, Coolmore had their first Dubai runners since 2005, Cape Blanco finishing fourth in the World Cup and Master Of Hounds forcing a photo for the UAE Derby.

Of course, John Magnier and his partners are supreme pragmatists and may simply feel that a purse of $10m (£6.5m) renders past differences trivial. But such participation by Ballydoyle certainly offers heightened legitimacy to a meeting designed to showcase the Maktoums' homeland.

The Dubai option was disclosed by O'Brien's wife, Anne-Marie, with the customary qualification that "no decision will be made until nearer the time". But a horse so important to the stable would hardly be entered for a race as early as 31 March on a speculative basis, as he must begin fast work far sooner than would otherwise be the case. Coral make him 7-2 favourite.

The synthetic surface at Meydan will represent another new frontier for So You Think, last seen experimenting with dirt in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Ultimately, he ended up with exactly the same official rating as 2010 in last week's International Classification, prompting the handicapper, Garry O'Gorman, to speculate that So You Think owed his revered status in Australia to limited competition over middle distances.

Certainly, when compared with Australian sprinting, O'Gorman suggested So You Think had been something of "a giant among pygmies". It is safe to say this assessment will not be revisited when the time comes to promote So You Think at stud – or if he wins the richest prize in Turf history.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's nap

Warneford (3.25 Wolverhampton) Responded to a visor when winning a claimer on his final start for Brian Meehan and, well bred and lightly raced, could go in for new stable.

Next best

Niceonefrankie (3.10 Plumpton) Looks well ahead of the game under a penalty for a decisive win on handicap chase debut at Hereford. Will be hard to beat if able to reproduce that form so soon.

Where the money's going

Sizing Europe is 9-4 from 5-2 with Paddy Power for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

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