herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Think-tank gets it right

O'Brien feels he has found a winning formula

AIDAN O'BRIEN feels he has finally found the way to get the best out of So You Think after he claimed the 150th Anniversary of Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Bred in New Zealand and a multiple Group One winner in Australia, the six-year-old was expected to take the European middle-distance scene by storm after joining O'Brien at the beginning of last year.

But while he has claimed multiple Group One prizes, he has also suffered five defeats for team Ballydoyle, including in this race 12 months ago.

Reverses in the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup suggested he had perhaps been over-hyped, but he got the show back on track in last month's Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, and he was the 4/5 favourite to secure his fifth top-level prize for O'Brien and his 10th in all.

Always travelling strongly in the hands of the trainer's son, Joseph, So You Think picked up well to fight off the challenge of the Queen's Carlton House. The official winning margin was two-and-a-quarter lengths, with Farhh a big eyecatcher back in third.

O'Brien senior said: "We expected a big run today, we felt like we had him in a place that he was never in before with us, which is incredible. I think we've had him a year and a half and it's taken me that long to learn how to train him.

"I was probably over-working the horse and galloping the speed out of him instead of letting him be natural."

So You Think may just have one more race before heading back Down Under to begin his career at stud.

Confident

"We knew we only had a few runs left (before retiring to stud), maybe today and Sandown (Eclipse) to get him back, so we listened to them and Joseph and the lads were confident it was going to come," said O'Brien senior.

"It will be the boys decision when he goes to stud, but Sandown is in our head as a cut-off point. We'll be pleading hard now that we have him in this place but it's a business decision."

Victory in the feature was the second leg of a double for the Ballydoyle trainer as Seamie Heffernan -- who picked up a seven-day whip ban and £550 fine -- guided 20/1 shot Ishvana to victory in the opening Jersey Stakes.

O'Brien's wife and winning owner and breeder Anne-Marie said: "It's absolutely incredible. We're so happy to be here.

"She was very impressive and showed a great turn of foot."

She also tweeted that leading fancy Maybe appears unlikely to take her place in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot tomorrow despite being among 12 declarations. "Maybe is a doubtful runner in Friday's Coronation Stakes due to a stone bruise."

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