The death of Galileo left a chasm in both the global and Coolmore stallion ranks – but is So You Think the horse to fill it?
Now 16, So You Think has equalled the feat of US stallion Smart Strike by siring three Group One winners at the same venue on the same day.
Smart Strike achieved the feat at Belmont Park in New York in 2007 and So You Thin achieved it on Saturday at Randwick via Knights Order (Sydney Cup), Think It Overr (Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and Nimalee (Queen Of The Turf Stakes).
Galileo twice sired three winners on the same day in Europe, but not at the same venue.
So You Think’s historic achievement came on a bog track where wheels spun and even champion mudlarks sank, but that does not detract from his legend and importance to the shifting sands of Australian racing and breeding, and to the global Coolmore empire.
But So You Think is unlikely to be afforded the chance to be a successor (of sorts) for Galileo, who had failed to capture the market in a cameo in the Hunter Valley before becoming the all-time greatest sire of Europe.
When Galileo died in July last year from the complications of colic, Coolmore faced the impossible task of looking ahead.
The breeding market is fickle. Unless you’re Written Tycoonwho somehow clawed himself out of the basement, you mostly only get one crack at it and So You Think’s crack came in 2014 when he joined Coolmore’s Irish roster.
He wasn’t a hard sell.
He’d been a brilliant racehorse in both Hemispheres – he won four Group Ones for Aidan O’Brien – was matinee-idol handsome and was a son of successful international sire High Chapparal.
But things went wrong from the start according to Coolmore’s Tom Magnier.
“He went there (Ireland) the first year and got an injury, a leg problem. There were problems with his blood and he only got 45 mares,” Magnier said.
“He got a good horse in France with Andre Fabre and maybe one or two others but it’s not easy when you launch with only 45 mares.”
The So You Think story is a “reverse Galileo.” One flopped in the Southern Hemisphere then grew wings in the other zone, the other has been a superstar Down Under but was denied a serious crack in the Northern Hemisphere.
Is it too late for So You Think in Europe?
“We’d definitely think about it,” Magnier said of re-shuttling So You Think.
“Galileo is gone and you think about the next one but he is just so valuable down here that it might be difficult. Having said that, it will be a subject that might come up.
“We might breed one or two to Northern Hemisphere time to him but as I said, he’s extremely valuable down here.”
Consolidating the local legend is the major priority.
Like Maurice and Shamus Award, So You Think is a major factor in the delicate re-shaping of the Australasian breeding and mindset.
The emphasis on speed at the yearling sales is still there but not what it was or will be as these stallions keep delivering star progeny that win the races that carry the greatest prizemoney rewards – staying races.
“If you look at Australia, all the prizemoney and all the good races are for that middle-distance type of horse which sort of goes against the type of horses people are buying at the yearling sales,” Magnier said.
“It’s the wrong way around.”
So You Think’s consistent success over many seasons has not parlayed into top lots at major yearling sales but Coolmore sold a So You Think colt for over $1 million last year and a number of his yearlings have almost realised $1 million.
Magnier was in awe of So You Think’s performance at Randwick.
“He’s the next Zabeel,” he said.
He’s an unbelievable stallion. To do what he did on the weekend is almost almost. He’s been an amazing success for Australia and for Coolmore, a very special horse.”
So You Think’s yo-yoing service fee is likely to rise beyond the $77,000 of recent seasons, including last season where he served the largest book of mares (261) of any stallion in Australasia.
He stood for $66,000 in his first season in 2012, dipped to $49,500 in 2016 and then rose again.
“It will probably go up,” Magnier said. “He’s been well priced over the last few seasons. He can get a horse who can stay but also have good speed – a pretty good recipe down here.”