So You Think triumphs in thrilling Eclipse battle
Report: Sandown, Saturday
Coral-Eclipse (Group1) 1m 2f, 3yo+
SO YOU THINK banished memories of his shock Royal Ascot defeat as he got the better of Workforce inan epic duel up the Sandown straight.
The race had been built up into an eagerly anticipated head-to-head match between the big two and it did not disappoint as So You Think rallied late on under Seamie Heffernan to catch Workforce and post a seventh Group 1 win by half a length.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien was winning the race for a fifth time as So You Think landed a massive plunge to become the 15th Irish-trained winner of the Coral-Eclipse.
His supporters, who had backed him through the week, played their hands again and having been as big as 11-10 in the morning, So You Thinkwas smashed into on course to return the 4-7 favourite.
Sri Putra ran a huge race to finish third at odds of 33-1. The filly Snow Fairy proved disappointing and was never able to strike a blow, beating only the pacemaker Confront home.
Heffernan, who was registering a second win from two rides on So You Think and a 13th Group 1 win of his own said: "He is a very good horse, things went smoothly today and I was delighted with him.
So You Think: has a lot of choicesPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
"It was a nice pace and it was just like a piece of work with a good horse leading me."
That good horse was the Derby and Arc winner Workforce, who got first run under Ryan Moore on Heffernan and So You Think as he moved up in the inside of his stablemate Confront half a mile from home.
With the outsider sticking around for longer than may have been expected, Heffernan found himself sat behind Workforce as Moore decided to make his move fully two furlongs from home. So You Think, however, started to motor as he raced into the final furlong and reeled in Workforce in the closing strides of the race to take his career earnings to just shy of the £3.5 million mark.
O'Brien said: "I am delighted for the horse, it was lovely today. It was a straightforward race. With the pacemaker in, whose best form was over a mile and a half, it was a no-brainer so Seamus got him settled in and followed Ryan.
"The race started three down with the pacemaker on the outside and Confront was not going to stay there forever and Seamus was very cool on him. He just sat away and then angled him out and gave him a lovely ride."
The trainer continued: "He is a horse that gets a mile and a quarter but he has a miler's pace and when they settle with the speed he has the sky is the limit."
Workforce: delighted his trainerPICTURE: Martin Lynch
William Hill gave So You Think a quote of 9-4 for the King George and Totesport went just 5-2 about him for the Arc, but immediately after the race O'Brien appeared to be favouring alternative plans.
He said: "He has a lot of choices. He has the Irish Champion Stakes, he has the Juddmonte [International] and he could have a break now and be trained for the Cox Plate. He has so many races open to him so we will go home and talk about it and hopefully we will come up with the right plan."
Sir Michael Stoute was not downhearted to see Workforce's colours lowered. He said: "I'm delighted with him and delighted with the way he ran." More lucidly, Teddy Grimthrope, representing owner Khalid Abdullah said: "He ran a very decent race. We can't complain and everything went accordingly.
"Ryan said he ran a really decent race and the ground was probably fast enough for him. There are no excuses. There are two or three fairly obvious options for him but we'll see how he comes out before contemplating matters."
Ed Dunlop had feared before the race that Snow Fairy had not had the ideal preparation having headed to Dubai and Ireland this year without running and after he said: "That was respectable and exactly what I expected. The one disappointment was Johnny [Murtgah] said she hit a flat spot but he said the track probably didn't suit her and that shehit a bit of a ridge.
"I tried to tell the world that she needed this race. I wasn't expecting to win today. All being well her next race will be in the Nassau Stakes."