After eight weeks away from the track since his scintillating battle in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes with Workforce, the kiwi-bred So You Think (NZ) is set to resume his campaign in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) on Sunday morning New Zealand time.
The Aiden O'Brien trained So You Think (NZ) (High Chaparral x Triassic) is set to recapture the punters attention as he goes in search of Group 1 number eight in the Irish Champion Stakes, where he is quoted as short as 1-3. He will also be out to emulate the deeds of his sire High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells) whose six Group 1 victories included the Irish Champion Stakes in 2003.
With the sad retirement of the English Derby winner Pour Moi (Montjeu) last week, The joint World Champion Middle Distance Performer and World Champion Stayer So You Think has been installed with many bookmakers as the favourite for the Group 1 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe.
With speculation rife in media circles as to whether So You Think will make his journey back to Australia for a crack at his third Cox Plate, all focus will be on his trainer Aidan O'Brien after the race as many expect him to announce the superstar's plans, with a tilt at the Arc looking the preferred option.
417-So You Think 554 copy So You Think (NZ) destroys his rivals by 10 lengths in his Irish debut, the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes. The Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes (2000m) at Leopardstown was first run in 1976 and has been won by some of the elite Northern Hemisphere thoroughbreds, with many going on to commence stud careers.
In 1995 the race was won by Pentire (Be My Guest) who took the race as a three-year-old, and since 2000 it boasts a who's who honour roll including USA's 2009 and 2010 champion sire Giant's Causeway (Storm Cat), High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells), the four-time Group 1 winner Azamour (Night Shift), Dylan Thomas (Danehill) who took back-to-back victories, the 2008 Co-World Champion New Approach (Galileo), the incomparable champion Sea the Stars (Cape Cross), and Cape Blanco (Galileo) who has won two Group 1 races in America this year.
The race has also been dominated by Aidan O'Brien since 2000 with the trainer winning six of the last 11 events including last year's race with Cape Blanco, a very talented horse who holds a nomination for the 2011 Cox Plate.
Leading the charge against So You Think in the Irish Champion Stakes is the outstanding filly Snow Fairy (Intikhab x Woodland Dream), a four-time Group 1 winning filly who won the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup against the older horses last year. She began her four-year-old career against So You Think in the Eclipse Stakes, finishing fourth.
With her last start seeing her run second to the talented mare Midday (Oasis Dream) in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes, she has had an interrupted campaign this season due to wet tracks but will be fit with two races under her belt and is well placed in the market at 5-1.
Famous Name (Dansili x Fame at Last) is next in the market at 12-1 and comes into the race in solid form, winning five of his last seven starts, all of these at black-type level, with his last start seeing him run second in a German Group 1 over 2000 metres. A winner of 14 of his 27 race day appearances, he is the earner of over £1,000,000.
In addition to So You Think, Aidan O'Brien has another two runners in the race with Roderic O'Connor and Recital.
High Chaparral High Chaparral, winner of six Group 1 races including the Irish Champion Stakes in 2003. The lightly raced Roderic O'Connor (Galileo x Secret Garden) made amends for his unplaced run in the English 2000 Guineas, a race in which Frankel (Galileo) destroyed the field, with a good win in the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas at his next start. His last start saw him run eighth in the Irish Derby but that can be excused as he seemed to take a disliking to the 2400 metres.
He is the third favourite in the race at 14-1 and, being by Galileo who is having an unbelievable season at stud, it would be of little surprise to see him running on in the concluding stages.
The three-year-old Recital (Montjeu x Dibenoise) is also lightly raced, having only five starts on the track, and he comes into the race after running sixth in the English Derby. He took a good win two starts back in the Group 2 Derby Trial Stakes and is at 20-1.
Dunboyne Express (Shamardal x Love Excelling) is quoted at 33-1 and comes into the race looking to improve on recent starts. He has won three times during his nine start career including the Group 3 Irish Guineas Trial.
So You Think is a $110,000 yearling from New Zealand Bloodstock's Karaka Premier Sale, purchased by prominent Australian bloodstock agent Duncan Ramage in 2004 from Windsor Park Stud.