Smullen fears So You Think in Cup

Patrick Smullen says Profound Beauty is in probably the best form of her career going into Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, but the Irish jockey fears one of the world’s best gallopers, So You Think, stands in her way.

Smullen was in awe of the Bart Cummings-trained So You Think who claimed Cup favouritism with his impressive Mackinnon Stakes victory on Saturday.

“You couldn’t be anything but taken by him, it was an exceptional run and he’s probably one of the best horses running in the world at the moment,” Smullen said.

“You have to appreciate and enjoy it when you see a racehorse like that.

“He’s an amazing horse and if he stays the distance, which I fearfully think he will, then he’s going to be extremely hard to beat.”

Smullen was standing in for dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dermot Weld who declined to attend the Melbourne Cup press conference with the connections of international runners at Werribee on Sunday morning.

The Irish trainer was still fuming over suggestions by vets that Profound Beauty was lame when inspected on Thursday.

Racing Victoria vets and stewards inspected the international horses at Werribee quarantine centre on Friday and Profound Beauty was cleared.

But not before an upset Weld had given chief steward Terry Bailey a two-hour ultimatum over the phone from overseas to clear the mare.

Weld’s travelling foreman had refused requests to have Profound Beauty trot up before vets.

Smullen said Profound Beauty was definitely a better horse now than she was when she finished fifth, under Glen Boss, to Viewed in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.

“She’s a more mature mare and just a better mare than she was then, but she needs to be to win,” he said.

Smullen doesn’t want the track to be too rain affected for the Danehill seven-year-old.

“That rain that fell (on Saturday and overnight) has left this track (Werribee) beautiful and she felt very comfortable on it this morning, he said.

“I’d like it to stop raining now. Enough rain has fallen now and with the way the track (Flemington) dries out very quickly, if we didn’t have a lot more rain it would be perfect for her.”

The mare has won nine times from 20 starts but did not come out for last year’s Cup after her fourth to Alandi in the Irish St Leger (2816m), beaten 23 lengths on a slow track.

Profound Beauty was beaten only three-quarters of a length in this year’s Irish St leger when runner-up to Sans Frontieres on slow ground at the Curragh on September 11.

“She seems to be in the form of her life at the moment. Her last run in the St Leger was probably her best run, even on a very, very soft track which didn’t help,” Smullen said.

“She’s always been a very solid and consistent mare.”

Another talking point is whether Profound Beauty will run out the 3200 metres but Smullen believes she will, just.

“I think she will get the two miles, but I have to say it’s as far as she wants to go,” he said.

Smullen described the 22 barrier for Profound Beauty as not ideal but not impossible either.

“If the track is wet it might not be such a disadvantage to be off the rails,” he said.

“I want to work my way in and get a bit of cover mid-pack and from there we’ll just have to ride a race.

While Weld is the first European trainer to win a Melbourne Cup – he won the race with Vintage Crop (1993) and again with Media Puzzle (2002) – Smullen is after his first.

He has ridden in the race three times, on Weld’s Vinnie Roe, the four-time Irish St Leger winner who finished fourth in 2002, runner-up to Makybe Diva in 2004 and eighth to Makybe Diva in 2005.

Smullen said there had been no discussion of Profound Beauty being retired but because she is owned by a stud (Moyglare) it will probably be sooner rather than later.