So You Think gets his chance to create history and lift the profile of Australasian racing to a new level in Europe’s most prestigious race.
The dual Cox Plate winner is set to run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) in France on Sunday (Monday AEDT).
Duncan Ramage, racing manager for Dato Tan Chin Nam who sold a controlling interest in So You Think to Coolmore last spring, will be there to cheer him on.
No horse from Australasia has won the Arc, with Kiwi Balmerino coming the closest with a second place in 1977.
Since moving from Bart Cummings to Coolmore’s trainer Aidan O’Brien in Ireland after the Melbourne Cup last year, So You Think has raced five times in Europe for four wins including three at Group One level.
He is considered one of the favourites for the Arc.
“It’s the pinnacle of the European season in a way,” Ramage said.
“We’ve never been fortuitous enough to have a horse good enough to be there, but we’ve got one good enough to be there this time and we’re in it.”
Dato Tan has raced many great racehorses from Think Big to So You Think.
The Malaysian tycoon missed the opportunity of racing 1996 Melbourne Cup winner Saintly in the Japan Cup that year with travel sickness ruling the gelding out of the famous event.
“We’ve had minimal exposure in Europe, this is the only horse we’ve ever had over there,” Ramage said.
“We’ve been to the Japan Cup with Saintly and had to scratch on race morning. We’ve won in Hong Kong (with Catalan Opening) but as far as Europe goes this is a whole new venture.
“I think the race itself will suit him. He’s been left in front a bit too soon in some of these small weight-for-age fields he’s been running in. In the Arc there should be plenty of runners carrying them into the last furlong (200m) – he shouldn’t be in front too soon there.”
Ramage, who is due to arrive in France on Friday, believes it would be great for Australasian racing if So You Think could win on Europe’s biggest stage this weekend.
“He’s a walking billboard for Australasian racing. He’s New Zealand-bred and a product of our racing system. It’s got to have upside all round, doesn’t it.”
Ramage said reports from the Coolmore team in Ireland were that So You Think is going into the Arc in great condition.
“They’ve had no complications, he’s been fairly faultless to prepare and train so he’s going into the race in good condition.”
Dato Tan will not be making the trip to Paris, but earlier this year he revealed his motivations to have So You Think tested against Europe’s best.
“In life you must always challenge yourself to find your best,” he said.
“It’s no different with racehorses. I have been very fortunate to have raced some great horses and from Think Big to So You Think I have always wanted my best horses to have their greatness tested.
“So You Think has been challenged in Australia and shown himself to be the Tiger. He deserves his chance to see if he is the biggest Tiger in world racing.”