So You Think Dominant in Irish Return

Officially rated the best long distance runner in the world last year was So You Think. He earned a figure of 122 as an extended distance performer on the basis of a third under top-weight in the Melbourne Cup (gr. I). However, he was actually rated 126 as a middle distance runner, a standing earned with five straight victories during the Australian 2010-2011 season, from seven to 10 furlongs. His last four starts saw him win the Caulfield Stakes (gr. I) on October 9; the Cox Plate (gr. I), on October 23; and the MacKinnon Stakes (gr. I) on October 30; prior to the two-mile Melbourne Cup (gr. I) which was on November 2.

With an interest sold to Derrick Smith, John Magnier, and Michael Tabor, the High Chaparral (IRE) (TrueNicks) colt was sent to Ballydoyle in Ireland to prepare for a Northern Hemisphere campaign. So You Think proved no worse for the exertions of last year's campaign and the subsequent international travel when he made his European debut in the appropriately-named High Chaparral European Breeders Fund Mooresbridge Stakes (gr. III, video below) at the Curragh on May 2. Though the opposition wasn’t exactly overwhelming, So You Think could hardly have been more impressive, taking over with less than two furlongs to run, but still putting 10 lengths between himself and his nearest opponent.

So You Think is by Sadler’s Wells' son High Chaparral, who despite winning 10 of his 13 starts, including the Epsom Derby (gr. I), Irish Derb (gr. I), and two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I), began his stud career in the uneviable position of having to compete for mares with two other magnificent Sadler’s Wells son, Montjeu and Galileo. Despite this, he’s actually shown himself to be a smart sire in Europe, if not quite on the level of Montjeu and Galileo, and now has 18 stakes winners, 12 group, including the group I-winning Redwood, but who on the basis on his first shuttle crop (conceived in New Zealand) is a remarkable sire for the Australian and New Zealand conditions. High Chaparral is currently leading the Australian Sires’ table, and that initial crop that produced So You Think has yielded group I winners Shoot Out, Monaco Consul, and Descarado (all also rated on the world rankings), and group winner Fairy Oak.

Rated A++ by TrueNicks (click to view report), So You Think is out of the group II-winning New Zealand matron Triassic, a daughter of the Nijinsky II horse Tights. The second dam, stakes-placed Astral Row, is a daughter of the English miler Long Row, and is a half sister to the dam of New Zealand group winner Red Tempo. There is nothing of comparable class close up in the pedigree, but the fifth dam (by multiple champion New Zealand sire Foxbridge) is ancestress of several good horses in Australia and New Zealand, including Turf Ruler and Philomel, and is a half sister to the Queensland Oaks victress Winnipeg. The family has been in the antipodes for some considerable time and goes back to the 1867 VRC Oaks victress Sylvia.

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