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Bluebloods : Karaka 2012 Yearling Sale Preview
still 16 days short of his third birthday on November 10, all of which merely combines to make his front-running performance to score all the more memorable. Glen Boss was rightly accorded much of the credit for the victory, electing to seize the initiative and go forward. Wasting hard to make the weight, Cummings quipped after the race that he ‘would buy him a feed’ to make up for Boss’s inconvenience. Such gung-ho tactics next time out in the Emirates Stakes-Gr.1, when dropped back to 1600m, did not make Cummings want to offer another meal however. Boss charged to the front turning into the straight on So you Think, who was left a sitting target and was run down late by All American. Spelled with the autumn in mind, those plans disappeared when So You Think was required to undergo a wind operation. If there were any doubts about his soundness, So You Think, the black stallion with the matinee idol looks, obliterated them with five straight wins once back to action in the spring of 2010, commencing with the Memsie Stakes-Gr.2 over Whobegotyou, Shoot Out and Typhoon Tracy and then four straight Gr.1 events, the Underwood, Yalumba, Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes. After his second Cox Plate victory, Cummings said simply. “ That was pretty good.” Pressed, as ever, to make comparisons with his previous greats, Cummings scotched grandiose notions, but left the door slightly ajar, clearly with an eye to the future, one that, sadly for Cummings, did not eventuate. “ I’m not going to say he's the best I’ve trained. That's being disrespectful to the good horses I've had before, like Galilee, Let's Elope, Saintly, but he's getting up there now. It takes a special horse to win a Cox Plate. It takes a great horse to win two.” The 2010 Melbourne Cup has been acknowledged as the best running of the race. It was the 150th edition of Australia’s most famous horse race, and the quality of the field was extremely high. The Australian public had taken So You Think to their hearts and were convinced that the four year-old (remembering he was still physically three) would earn Cummings another little gold trophy. The damp, dark conditions really only heightened the sense of theatre and when So You Think swept up to take the lead 300m out, the roar was deafening. So You Think was brave and he stayed the 3200m, it was just that French-visitor Americain (USA) and Maluckyday stayed it that little bit better. The rumour mill had been in overdrive that Sheikh Mohammed, in Melbourne for the race, would make an offer for So You Think. Instead it turned out to be Coolmore who secured the dual Cox Plate winner in a deal believed to value the horse between $A40-$50m. In the media frenzy once the deal was confirmed, Duncan Ramage, bloodstock manager for Dato Tan, explained that negotiations were complex. “ It has been flattering, yet tiring to deal with it all. There has been interest from most of the major breeding operators in this part of the world, as you would expect. We're glad he has been so eagerly sought.” Ramage went on to say Dato Tan had been racing horses with Cummings for 40 years and the decision to send the horse away was difficult for the owner. “ Dato has not taken this lightly because all of his racing has been done with Bart. Obviously, Bart is at a stage in his life and with his health where he is not able to campaign a horse overseas for an extensive period. Dato and Bart are still going to be racing plenty of horses together, regardless of what this horse's racing future might be.” “ He ticks all the boxes,” Coolmore Australia manager Michael Kirwan said at the time of purchase. “He's probably one of the best racehorses in the world. He's a very talented horse and hasn't done all that much racing for a four year-old with 12 starts. Just like a Rolls-Royce car. You pay plenty for them, but they're really worth it.” “ In your life you must always challenge yourself to find your best,” Chin Nam said. “ It is no different with racehorses. I have been very fortunate to have raced some great horses, from Think Big to So You Think. I have always wanted my best horses to have their greatness tested. So You Think has been challenged in Australia and shown himself to be the tiger. He deserves his chance to see if he is the biggest tiger in world racing.” And So You Think would be tested at the highest level in Europe. While Australian sprinters have become the byword for the best in recent years in Europe, the middle-distance arena is entirely different. The AJC Derby winner Starcraft was campaigned at 1600m with great effect but not since Strawberry Road and Balmerino has there been a serious attempt. A part of the Aidan O’Brien team at Ballydoyle, So You Think made his European bow on May 2 at the Curragh, appropriately in the High Chaparral- sponsored Mooresbridge Stakes. The Gr.3 race over a mile and a quarter could hardly be described as a contest however with just five other runners, none of them within a stone of So You Think on International Ratings. A trackwork gallop ended with a 10-length win, followed by an effortless four- length win in the Tattersalls Gold Cup-Gr.1 over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh on May 22. Victory in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes-Gr.1 (10f ) on June 15 at Ascot’s Royal meeting would set the seal on his championship claims but So You Think was run down late by the ill-fated Rewilding. Not allowed to rest on his laurels, So You Think was sent out 17 days later in the Eclipse Stakes- Gr.1 over the testing mile and a quarter at Sandown, defeating a small but select field that included English Derby winner Workforce and English Oaks winner Snow Fairy. The Eclipse Stakes has been won by some of the greats of European racing. In recent years names like Sea the Stars, Giant’s Causeway, Halling, Nashwan, Mtoto, Dancing Brave and Sadler’s Wells, the grandsire of So You Think, adorn the honour roll, while further back winners include the likes of Tulyar, Djeddah, Ragusa, Busted, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard. Another defeat of Snow Fairy, this time in the Irish Champion Stakes-Gr.1 over a mile and a quarter at Leopardstown followed on September 3, his eighth win at the highest level and his last win. Defeats in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, fourth when given an impossible amount of ground to make up in the straight, Champion Stakes at Newmarket, when second behind Cirrus des Aigles and then a sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (10f ) on the dirt at Churchill Downs behind Drosselmeyer, completed an eight- run season in Europe that began in May and ended in North America on November 5. Following his Breeders’ Cup run, Aidan O’Brien hinted that things would be a bit different with So You Think in 2012, admitting that he may have erred in trying to stretch So You Think out in trip. “ He's run a great race and we are very happy with him,” O'Brien told the Press Association after the race. “ He's a horse with a lot of speed, and we were probably going the wrong way with him in that sense.” “ Ryan (Moore) said they weren't going quick enough for him, and I look forward to going back to a mile with him, he'd have no problem with that distance. If he didn't have the speed I think he has, he wouldn't want to get on with it like he did tonight. We are still learning a lot about him.” Speed is certainly something So You Think has in abundance. As Reg Fleming, Melbourne foreman for Bart Cummings for the past 15 years says succinctly. “ He could do things in the morning no other horse could do. He’s just a champion, it’s that simple.” So You Think’s first season in Europe can hardly be described as a failure, with two of his three European Gr.1 wins in championship races, but one suspects it is more a case of promise unfulfilled. With a less strenuous season and a drop back in distance, he could still become the biggest tiger in world racing. ■ Bart Cummings congratulates owner Dato Tan Chin Nam after So You Think’s 2nd Cox Plate victory “The New Zealanders are professionals, they know their horses, work with them.” KARAKA 2012 YEARLING SALE PREVIEW KARAKA 2012 21 M.K.
Feb 2011 Issue - Sale Previews
Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Preview 2012