So You Think favourite for Cup
So You Think’s Cox Plate triumph has propelled him to outright favouritism to give trainer Bart Cummings his 13th win in the Melbourne Cup.
The dominance of his second Cox Plate win on Saturday prompted TAB Sportsbet to firm So You Think to $3.50 from $5 after he was equal with 2009 Cup winner Shocking who remained at that price.
Although he has never run beyond the 2040 metres of the Cox Plate, So You Think will be prepared in the Cummings’ mould by contesting the Mackinnon Stakes.
An essential part of the master trainer’s planning for the Cup is that a horse should go into the race with 10,000 metres in his legs.
So You Think has had four starts this preparation, winning the Memsie Stakes (1400m), the Underwood (1800m) and the Yalumba (2000m) before the Cox Plate.
The Mackinnon will bring him up to 9240 metres, a little short of ideal but probably enough for the horse now being showered with superlatives ranging from freak to the second coming of Phar Lap.
Cummings will be happy if he is the second coming of Saintly who completed the Cox Plate-Melbourne Cup double in 1996 and although reluctant to single So You Think out among some of his past greats, he has him in the top echelon.
“They’ve all been champions,” Cummings said.
“He’s up there in the top four or five.”
Should he win the Mackinnon, So You Think will go into the Melbourne Cup at just his 12th race start and will have to contend with some tough, hardened stayers from both here and overseas.
So You Think’s stablemate Precedence is now the third favourite for the Cup but he is not guaranteed a start despite his wins in the JRA Cup and the Moonee Valley Cup.
He was rehandicapped 1-1/2 kilos for each win but is still number 30 on the elimination order and is likely to run in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday.
The winner of the Lexus gains exemption from a Cup ballot which is the route used by Shocking last year.
Cummings also has Faint Perfume and Dariana fully qualified for the Cup.
Third declarations will be taken on Monday with all four expected to remain in contention.
Cox Plate runner-up Zipping is also expected to be entered for the Mackinnon as is Cup hopeful Shoot Out.
Metal Bender is guaranteed a Cup berth and will also run in the Mackinnon on what trainer Chris Waller hopes will be a much firmer surface than the heavy (9) he had to contend with when eighth in the Caulfield Cup won by Descarado.
“He’s bright and sharp and I expect him to bounce back on a good track,” Waller said.
“He’s ready to go and so are we.”
Metal Bender has blown out to $81 for the Cup after being one of the leading contenders in early markets.