26 February 2024
The skinny horse with big appetite chasing Group 1 win
chasing Group 1 win
26 October 2023
John Sargent, the genial Randwick trainer, joked that Glad You Think So’s insatiable appetite could send him broke.
“I can’t give that colt enough food,” Sargent said.
“He’s the biggest eater in my stable by a mile. He’s always hungry so if he leaves anything in his feed bin then there must be something wrong.
“But he’s tall and lean – I don’t know where he puts it!”
Sargent’s story is similar to how Joe Pride describes his The Everest winner Think About It, also a voracious eater.
There’s another commonality between the two horses – they are both by Coolmore’s super sire So You Think.
Glad You Think So is showing considerable staying potential and has earned his chance at Group 1 level in the $2m Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Sargent might be renowned as a “trainer of Oaks fillies” which is true as he has prepared the likes of Kirramosa, Quintessential, Luvaluva and Gust Of Wind (the last horse to beat the mighty Winx) to classic success, but he’s also expert in preparing horses from sprint distances to the staying trips.
The trainer admits he enjoys preparing stayers like Glad You Think So, helping them to develop and mature as racehorses.
Glad You Think So, a colt by So You Think from the Anabaa mare Gladwell, was a $400,000 Easter Yearling Sale purchase for Sargent and Think Big Stud’s Duncan Ramage.
“We liked the colt, he was a big, scopey So You Think who we knew would need time,” Sargent said.
“This is effectively his first racing preparation so what he is doing now, he will be a lot better again in another year or so.
“But we have taken him along quietly and he is learning the game with every run. Like a lot of the So You Think progeny, the longer this colt has been in work, he seems to mature more mentally and physically.”
Glad You Think So has only had six starts for two minor wins at the provincials but his last-start fifth, beaten less than a length in the Gloaming Stakes, gave Sargent and Ramage the confidence to aim at the Spring Champion Stakes.
“I’ve been waiting for him to get to 2000m,” Ramage said.
“He hasn’t run over it yet but we think it will be in his favour.
“He was beaten less than a length over 1800m coming back slightly in distance off his previous win so the 2000m should suit him.
“Glad You Think So has a big action and a low head carriage so if he gets a bit of room to move, it will help him as he will just keep coming.”
In latest TAB betting for the Spring Champion Stakes, Glad You Think So is at $19 behind Godolphin’s promising three-year-old Tom Kitten at $2.25 favourite.
This betting disparity between the pair is significant given less than a half-length separated them in the Gloaming Stakes with Tom Kitten finishing third.
Ramage said he’s hopeful Glad You Think So will finally give him that elusive Spring Champion Stakes after some frustrating near-misses over the last three decades.
“I’ve been placed five times in the Spring Champion,” Ramage revealed.
“We had Catalan Opening run third in 1995, as did Liberty Hall (1999) and Battenburg (2019).
“First Seal (2014) ran second in track record time and Pendragon (2005) was unlucky the year he started favourite and was just beaten.”
Ramage would almost certainly have won the Spring Champion Stakes in 2009 if the decision was made to run So You Think in the Randwick classic that year.
So You Think, who was purchased by Ramage for $110,000 on behalf of owner Dato Tan Chin Nam, had won the Gloaming Stakes easily but, instead, legendary trainer Bart Cummings had designs on winning the Caulfield Guineas with the emerging three-year-old.
“We thought So You Think could do a God’s Own (2005) and win the Caulfield Guineas,” Ramage revealed.
“But he wore a tongue-tie once in his life which was in the Caulfield Guineas and he resented it.”
Cummings wasn’t deterred then sprang a surprise when he decided to run So You Think in the Cox Plate at just his fifth start.
“So You Think wasn’t there to make up the numbers,” Ramage said.
“But he probably exceeded expectations that day when he won the Cox Plate so easily.
“He wasn’t even three at the time, he was a November foal, but if we knew then what would happen afterwards, it would not have been a surprise.”
So You Think trained on to win another Cox Plate the following year and was sold as a five-time Group 1 winner to Coolmore to race in Ireland under Aidan O’Brien.
The champion racehorse trained on to win another five Group 1 races in the northern hemisphere, a remarkable feat which Ramage put into historical perspective.
“If you think about southern hemisphere horses from Phar Lap, through to Strawberry Road, Choisir and Black Caviar, none have gone to Europe and won five Group 1 races,” he said.
So You Think was retired to Coolmore’s Hunter Valley property where he is now proving a champion at stud as the sire of 50 individual stakes winners of 91 stakes races including 11 Group 1 winners.
His progeny are won over all distances including The Everest winner Think About It at 1200m through to Knight’s Order’s Sydney Cup at 3200m.
So You Think has established an early lead in the Australian Sires Premiership and if he can maintain that advantage and claim the 2023-24 title, it will confirm his status as a complete thoroughbred, a champion on and off the racetrack.
The Coolmore sire sensation is on target to join a very elite club of former Australian Horse of the Year winners who have gone to stud and the Sires premiership, a feat achieved only by Vain (1984) and Lonhro (2011).
“So You Think He has been runner-up in the sires premiership the last two seasons and I believe he will eventually become champion sire,” Ramage said.
“He is butting heads at the moment with two former champions in I Am Invincible and Snitzel. They are a bit older than him so his time will probably come.
“At the moment So You Think has got a chance this season as he is in front but he has to hold off those two sires.”
But Ramage maintains as good as So You Think has been at stud – he’s already sired the likes of superstar Think About It, Think It Over, Nimalee, Knight’s Order, Inference, D’Argento and Nakeeta Jane – the best is yet to come.
“I know what mares he has served every season and his best books are still to be of racing age,” Ramage said.
“They are either on the ground as foals or in the belly of broodmares.”
Coolmore Stud’s marketing and nominations manager Tom Moore agreed with Ramager’s assertion that So You Think’s best days as a stallion are ahead of him and supported this claim with the following statistics:
■ So You Think has covered 1135 mares in the past 5 seasons – more than any other sire. In this time his fee rose from $38,500 to $93,500, before going up to $99,000 this season.
■ In 2023, his yearlings sold for an aggregate total in excess of $18.5 million at an average of $180,000.
■ He has sired five Group 1 winners in Australia since the start of 2022, no other sire has more.
■ Since the start of the 2021/22 season, So You Think’s progeny have earned $49,438,528 prizemoney in Australia alone.
■ He has been second on the overall sires’ table the last 2 seasons, but has been a top 15 sire for the last 5 seasons (15th – 11th – fifth – second – second) and is now leading the premiership.
Moore said some of the outstanding broodmares served by So You Think in the last three seasons include a filly out of VRC Oaks winner Personal plus Pontiana (dam of Inference and Illation), Invincible Star, Formality, Crystal Bound, Dezign (dam of Nimalee), Miss Otto (dam of Peltzer), Lights Of Heaven and Amelia’s Dream.
“The quality of the mares So You Think has covered in the last three servings are far beyond what he covered the five seasons before that,” Moore said.
“The good thing about his progeny is they improve as they get older, they reach their peak performance levels as four, five and six-year-olds.
“So You Think’s star is on the rise in every area.”
Even as a broodmare sire, So You Think is making his mark with the likes of Mull Over, dam of Golden Slipper winner Fireburn and stakes-placed three-year-old Kintyre.
At Royal Randwick on Saturday, Fireburn lines up in the Group 3 $750,000 Craven Plate (1800m) and Kintyre takes on Glad You Think So in the Spring Champion Stakes.
“As a racehorse, I don’t think there were any much better than So You Think,” Sargent said.
“Now he is doing it at stud, he’s a boom stallion and I like working with his progeny.
“Glad You Think So is typical of the So You Think breed, he keeps improving and has gone to a different level every run. I hope he can go to a new level in the Spring Champion.”
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