So You Think thrills in Red Mills
Racing:So You Think maintained his breathless progress under Aidan O’Brien’s tutelage when claiming the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
The strapping Australian import has made a dramatic impression since joining O’Brien, for whom he has now won three Group Ones, including the Coral Eclipse and the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Sent on his way the 1-4 favourite under Seamie Heffernan, the five-year-old entire had to work very hard to fend off the sustained challenge of the Ed Dunlop-trained Snow Fairy. Famous Name finished a mile adrift of the protagonists in third.
So You Think was also providing O’Brien with a sixth Irish Champion Stakes in the last nine years.
Fellow O’Brien inmate Roderic O’Connor endeavoured to make all of the running, with So You Think in second and Snow Fairy in third for most of the 10-furlong assignment.
The placings remained unchanged as they turned in for home, at which stage the winner spurted into life.
Heffernan’s companion sauntered into the lead just before the two-furlong marker, but the Frankie Dettori-ridden Snow Fairy was clearly back to her best and refused to buckle under intense pressure.
For a fleeting moment So You Think could feasibly have been overtaken, but the former Bart Cummings inmate showed plenty of resistance to score by half a length.
O’Brien said: “It’s a long time since he ran, and you’d always be worried about that. We’ll discuss things during the week now as to where he’ll go next.
“He cruises through his races and all options are open to him. He is an incredible specimen of a thoroughbred.”
John Magnier, of the Coolmore triumvirate, added: “He’s a good horse, and she (Snow Fairy) is a very good filly, so it was a good race.
“This horse’s record is there for everyone to see. He’s the kind of a horse who we are spoilt for choice with options.
“He could run in the mile race at Ascot (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes), the mile-and-a-quarter race (Qipco Champion Stakes, Ascot), or he could run in the Arc.”
Of a potential return to Australia, Magnier added: “You could never say never, but it’s not imminent.”
Emulous took within her stride the step up to Group One company with a superb performance in the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes.
The 9-2 shot was settled at the rear of the field by Pat Smullen, and still had all seven rivals in front of her rounding the turn for home.
But Smullen appeared to know he had plenty of horse underneath him and once he pushed the button, his mount found top gear to defeat the Ballydoyle pair of Together and Misty For Me in most impressive style.
It was a third successive victory for Emulous following a pair of Group Three triumphs at the Curragh and Fairyhouse.
Four-time Group One scorer Misty For Me was sent off the 6-4 favourite and while O’Brien’s filly did little wrong, having been ridden positively, she was simply left in the winner’s wake once the pace quickened.
Together finished second in the English and the Irish 1000 Guineas and again had to make do with the runner-up spot, some three lengths adrift of the brilliant winner.
Weld said: “I was always thought she was capable of winning a Group One. She’s progressive and a very talented filly and we’ll probably look at the Sun Chariot at Newmarket for her.”
A drop in trip was no problem for Galileo’s Choice as he took Group Three honours in the Kilternan Stakes.
Weld’s five-year-old was a winner over hurdles at the Galway Festival and subsequently followed up over two miles and a furlong at Killarney.
Dropping back to a mile and a quarter, Smullen’s mount (13-2) took a couple of lengths out of the field before the turn for home and maintained his advantage to score by a length and a quarter.
Look At Me finished off her race well to fill the runner-up spot, but her stablemate Viscount Nelson, the 13-8 favourite, was a big disappointment.
Weld added: “I’ve entered him in the Melbourne Cup. Everybody thought I’d gone mad, but I might not have.”
Mark Johnston enjoyed a big pay-day in the September Handicap when Below Zero justified 4-1 favouritism in the trusty hands of Fran Berry.
Akeed Mofeed also impressed in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden. The 11-4 chance, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, won by five lengths on just his second career start.
Trainer John Oxx said: “He’ll go for the Beresford at the Curragh next and we’ll see how he steps up.”
Silver Sycamore (8-1) was similarly stylish in the opening maiden, while Rock And Roll Kid (16-1) came up trumps in the leopardstown.com Handicap. Goldplated (20-1) powered to a valuable success in the concluding Autumn Fillies Handicap.