Thursday, 21 June 2012
Dual Cox Plate winner So You Think
scored a victory that came with a massive apology to all of Australia, and one that stamped him as a true international champion at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.
Following the horse's outstanding win in the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes (2000m), Ireland's finest trainer Aidan O'Brien said he had finally listened to the outcry coming from Australia and changed his tactics with So You Think
O'Brien, who took over from Bart Cummings as So You Think
's trainer 18 months ago, confessed he had got things totally wrong and was only sorry he hadn't realised it sooner.
"I apologise to the Australian people for messing it up," O'Brien said.
Ireland's most successful trainer said he had tried to turn So You Think
into a stayer and as a result had destroyed the horse's natural speed.
"I was overworking the horse ... working him too long and too hard," he said.
O'Brien also paid tribute to So You Think
for surviving his Irish ordeal.
"It's only that he's such a great horse that I didn't muck him up totally and that he could come back and win today," he said.So You Think
, the favourite, scored by 2-1/4 lengths from Carlton House, owned by the Queen, recording his fifth group one win in Europe and 10th overall.
The success was clearly his best run since being transferred from Cummings after Irish breeding and racing giant Coolmore
bought a half share in him.
Despite winning four group one races for O'Brien before Wednesday, So You Think
had failed to reproduce the form that had earned him a price tag of more than $80m in Australia.
Following defeats in a succession of big races, including last year's Prince of Wales's Stakes, the Prix de Arc de Triomphe and others in the United States and Dubai, O'Brien's tactics came under question in Australia, particularly from Cummings.
Two months ago he decided Cummings might have a point.
"It took me a while, but I started to listen," he said.
"The thing was, I knew Bart had been doing a better job than me ... you have to learn."
O'Brien had also heard the popular outcry in Australia.
"So many millions of people in Australia couldn't be wrong," he said.
The criticisms of O'Brien's methods even included condemnation for trimming So You Think
's distinctive flowing mane.
So as well as changing the horse's training routine, O'Brien changed his grooming style, allowing his mane to grow.
Having finally got it right, it is now possible So You Think
has run his last race.
The only possibility for the horse is the Eclipse Stakes on July 7, but his owners are concerned a run in the race at Sandown (UK) won't leave enough time to get him ready for his stud career which will begin in Australia later this year.