So You Think (5h High Chaparral – Triassic, by Tights)produced a scintillating display to defeat last season’s Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Workforce in a thrilling renewal of the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Seamie Heffernan in the colours of Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, Dato Tan and Tunku Yahaya, the brilliant son of High Chaparral was registering a seventh Group 1 victory in the 10-furlong contest, and his first success at the highest level in Britain.
So You Think loomed up to lay down a strong challenge to Workforce entering the final quarter mile, getting the measure of his rival near the line to prevail by half length in a pulsating battle up the famous Sandown hill.
“I am delighted for So You Think,” commented Aidan O’Brien afterwards. “Today was where we had hoped to have him at Ascot but those things don’t always work out. It was lovely today – a straightforward race with a pacemaker and the danger (Workforce) had his best form over a mile and a half, so it was a no-brainer to come here.
“Seamus got him relaxed and followed Ryan (Moore). The race started three furlongs out, which was lovely because the pacemaker was on the outside. Obviously Confront wasn’t going to stay there forever, so Seamus was very cool on him – he just sat away on So You Think, angled him out and won nicely. He gave him a lovely ride and I am delighted for everybody who has put in a lot of hard work.
“So You Think is a horse that gets a mile and a quarter but he has a miler’s pace. He has a lot of choices open to him now, like the Irish Champion Stakes, the Juddmonte International, and he could get a break now and be trained for the Cox Plate.”
The experts understandably lauded So You Think as a true champion and Timeform rated him 134 after the victory, making him the best older horse in the planet.
The newspapers were full of praise for the New Zealand-bred star with Brough Scott, writing in The Sunday Times, describing the race as being “as good a moment as any British track as seen in years”.
Sue Montgomery’s report in The Independent was headlined “So You Think stakes his claim to global greatness” while in The Observer, Greg Wood noted that So You Think’s “huge frame is as strong as it is athletic and, when harnessed like this, it is magnificent to watch.”
In The Irish Independent, Ian McClean wrote: “No excuses. No hard luck stories. Just a pulsating, honest-to-goodness buckle of a horse race featuring two of the highest-rated colts in the world showcasing the best the sport has in the locker in one of its shop-window midsummer highlights.”