Kiwi So You Think wins at Royal Ascot – records tumble
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 9:47a.m.
After a wait as long as the country's history for the first New Zealand-bred victory at the Royal Ascot races, it took 24 hours to wait for the second.
So You Think became the second horse reared in New Zealand to win at the storied race meeting on Wednesday when he took out the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (2000m) by 2-1/4 lengths from the Queen's horse Carlton House - and with it came an apology to Antipodeans from his trainer.
The victory, in which So You Think gained revenge for losing in the last few metres last year, came a day after the Hong Kong-trained Little Bridge became the first New Zealand-bred Royal Ascot winner when he won the King's Stand Stakes (1000m) at the Royal meeting.
The Royal Ascot race meeting has been staged every June since the 1700s, well before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840.
But until Little Bridge's success no New Zealand-bred horse had won there, though few had tried.
So You Think, bred in Cambridge by Michael Moran and Piper Farm, was a champion in Australia in the hands of legendary trainer Bart Cummings, winning the Cox Plate twice, before a half share was sold to Coolmore Farm in Ireland which valued him at $80 million.
But despite winning four group one races for Ireland's finest trainer Aidan O'Brien before Wednesday, So You Think didn't reproduce his Australian form and O'Brien's tactics came under question in Australia, particularly from Cummings.
Two months ago O'Brien decided Cummings might have a point.
"I apologise to the Australian people for messing it up," said O'Brien.
"The thing was, I knew Bart had been doing a better job than me ... you have to learn."
O'Brien said he tried to turn So You Think into a stayer and as a result had destroyed the horse's natural speed.
"I was overworking the horse ... working him too long and too hard.
"It's only that he's such a great horse that I didn't muck him up totally and that he could come back and win today."
But having finally got it right, it's now possible So You Think has run his last race.
The only possibility is the Eclipse Stakes on July 7, but his owners are concerned a run there won't leave enough time to get him ready for his stud career which begins in Australia later this year.
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21/06/2012 3:16:21 p.m.
Cecile Smith wrote:
As co-breeder of So You Think, I was pleased to see him return to his winning form. He looked like his old self, and along with Little Bridge, New Zealand breeding was well represented at Ascot. Cecile Smith
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