Winner of five Grade 1 races and third in last year’s Melbourne Cup when trained by Bart Cuimmings, the New Zealand-bred son of High Chaparral oozed class as he swept into the lead at the two-furlong pole before storming clear in the final furlong to beat Bob Le Beau by ten lengths.
Although the strength of the opposition can be questioned, there was no doubting the style of the 2/13 favourite’s breathtaking performance and trainer O’Brien conceded: “He’s a prodigy of Australian breeding, racing and training. An incredible specimen and we’re very privileged to have him.”
O’Brien added: “You saw him working here the last day and he was just ready to run. He’s only been doing half-speeds. He’s an amazing horse. Everything seems to come so easily to him. I’d say the trip doesn’t matter to him and, while we’ll take it one day at a time with him, he’ll hopefully come back here for the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Guineas meeting.”
O’Brien also confirmed that Master Of Hounds, narrowly beaten in the UAE Derby in Dubai, was due to leave last night for Louisville where he’ll contest the Kentucky Derby, with Garrett Gomez in the saddle.
Recital, beaten in the recent Ballysax Stakes in controversial circumstances, will return to Leopardstown for the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial next Sunday and Ballydoyle’s raiding party at Chester this week will include St. Nicholas Abbey in the Ormonde Stakes, recent Tipperary winner Wonder Of Wonders, Await The Dawn and either Regent Street or Memphis Tennessee in the Chester Vase.
So You Think was the second leg of a double for Aidan O’Brien, sparked when debutant Power, ridden by Colm O’Donoghue, landed a gamble (13/2 to 3/1) in the opening Alfred Nobel 2-Y-0 Maiden, beating the well-touted but slow-starting and green Remember Alexander, trained by Jessica Harrington.
“I’m happy with that,” said O’Brien. “They went a nice even gallop. He picked up and won really nicely. He’s a precocious colt, a sharp, mature, early type. He’ll probably be an Ascot colt.”
The David Wachman trained Imperial Rome, impressive winner of a Dundalk handicap last time, was another winner for the Coolmore team, justifying favouritism in the Dylan Thomas Tetrarch Stakes (Group 3), quickening well to lead inside the final furlong before holding the fast-finishing Zabarajad by a head.
“He quickens well and should step forward from that,” commented Wachman of the Wayne Lordan-ridden Holy Roman Emperor colt, “He’ll head for the French 2,000 Guineas now (at Longchamp on May 15).
“We liked him last year. He got tired first time and then won his maiden well. He looked smart when he won his handicap in Dundalk in his comeback run. The plan was to go for the Loughbrown and then today’s race, but the ground was too bad, so we came straight here. He’ll campaign at a mile, or shorter.”
Former champion Johnny Murtagh took the riding honours, registering a fine treble on favourite Emiyna, Casbah Rock and Dance Secretary, the first and last fillies trained by his boss John Oxx.
* Joseph O’Brien picked up a two-day careless riding ban following an incident in the seven-furlong handicap involving his mount Tsar Paul and the Johnny Murtagh ridden Flash McGahon.