Melbourne Cup '10: So You Think you can join immortals

If So You Think can win the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup tomorrow, he will join a select group considered by racing experts to be the greatest in Australian turf history.According to ratings experts and historians, if the Bart Cummings-trained star wins tomorrow’s $6.5 million feature he will join the rarefied group of horses which includes modern greats Tulloch and Kingston Town.After Saturday’s effortless 3#34Frac length win in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes, So You Think took his astonishing record to eight wins - including five at Group 1 level - and one placing from just 11 career starts.Ratings expert Gary Crispe, who compiles the internationally recognised Timeform ratings for Australia, moved So You Think’s figure to 133, equal to that of Might And Power and behind only Tulloch in the modern era.Crispe stopped short of comparing him with the mighty Phar Lap, but said another dominant effort tomorrow would immortalise So You Think among the greats.‘‘If he was to come out and win the Melbourne Cup very comfortably, you can talk about him being the best horse since Tulloch and Kingston Town - but I think Phar Lap sits in a league of his own,’’ Crispe said.‘‘But in reality, Phar Lap sits a long way back in history. I think in recent memory, Tulloch was an absolutely brilliant racehorse, as was Kingston Town. They did things that normal horses can’t even get close to, and this horse is just building that reputation. I think he certainly deserves to be rated among those horses should he win the Cup.’’The only perceivable chink in So You Think’s armour is whether he can stay the 3200m trip. Crispe, who has travelled the world extensively covering the world’s biggest races, expects So You Think to win easily tomorrow.‘‘I think they’ve [the critics] used up all their excuses, the only question remains is the 3200m,’’ he said. ‘‘Class just dominates races and it’s the most difficult thing to measure of all.‘‘If this horse raced in Europe - against the very best like Workforce, who just won the Arc last week and Golidkova, who is going to the Breeders Cup next week, horses like Illustrious Blue, Americain and Manighar wouldn’t even be in this race, that’s just how far down the class chain they are. When you put in those sort of perspectives, this horse is thrown in at the weights and he is just all over it.‘‘He’s just knocking down all of the barriers one by one. He just keeps improving that little bit each time as he matures. He’s still only a very lightly raced horse and to do what he is doing at that level is just something that isn’t seen that often.’’What makes So You Think’s record impressive is how much he has achieved as such an early stage of his career. He notched a Cox Plate at start number five and has since won another.Victoria Racing Club historian Dr Andrew Lemon said the only horse to have compiled such an amazing early career record is 1880 Melbourne Cup winner Grand Flaneur, which won the Cup as a three-year-old, plus AJC and VRC Derbies, then retired unbeaten with nine wins from as many starts.Lemon, who has written three books on Australian racing, qualified the comparison by saying Grand Flaneur won races with fewer runners compared to the competitive fields So You Think has taken on.Other than win the Melbourne Cup, So You Think needs to tick another box to be included among the greatest racehorses of all time - that of longevity.‘‘A horse that can keep on producing incredibly impressive record year after year is going to become part of the legend,’’ Lemon said.‘‘Phar Lap really, it was only three seasons he raced for but they were so spectacular that they really stuck in the mind.’’

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