Arnold a chance to stick with Think
Northern hemisphere-bound So You Think could yet have an Australian playing a central role in a 2011 overseas racing campaign.
As he confirmed the sale of the two-time Cox Plate winner had been finalised on Tuesday, Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien said there was still a chance the glamour galloper’s spring jockey Steven Arnold could retain the prized ride in Europe.
“We saw his races and saw the rides that Steven had given him and he has been a big part of the horse,” O’Brien told Sky Sports Radio.
“I think he has been incredibly good on him as he has been able to steady him with him being a very pacy, athletic sort of horse.
“He has been able to relax him and he has done an incredible job riding him.”
Trainer Bart Cummings booked Arnold for the So You Think ride ahead of a spring campaign that reaped a second Cox Plate win as well three other Group One victories.
The campaign ended with an honourable third to Americain in the Melbourne Cup – 24 hours before a deal with Coolmore Stud became public.
Coolmore, the Irish breeding and racing conglomerate with a strong presence in Australia who bought a controlling interest in the entire from Dato Tan Chin Nam, retains O’Brien as its Ballydoyle trainer.
News of the sale has been described as a major loss for Australian racing and came as one of the biggest disappointments in Cummings’ distinguished career.
Arnold, who enjoyed Royal Ascot success last year on crack sprinter Scenic Blast, firmed as a potential 2011 jockey for So You Think after it was announced Ballydoyle rider Johnny Murtagh had severed ties with Coolmore.
He has also been mentioned in dispatches as a possible replacement for Murtagh with a British bookmaker offering 12-1 about Arnold securing a Ballydoyle contract.
So You Think is expected to head overseas with Coolmore’s shuttle stallions at the end of the Australian breeding season.
“We will start to get him ready in the (northern hemisphere) spring but obviously all the big races are open to him at Ascot, the Prince of Wales, the King George, all those races are open to him and you would want to go for the Arc after that,” O’Brien said.
“It looks like with what we have seen of him he can go in at any depth in any race.”