07/02/2011 12:20PM

Sandown: So You Think bests Workforce after stretch battle

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The Group 1, $364,000 Eclipse Stakes on Saturday at Sandown Park in England lived up to expectations. And this time, so did So You Think.

So You Think, surprisingly defeated as the heavy favorite in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes last month at Royal Ascot, rebounded with a determined half-length victory over Workforce. The two older horses, among the best in the world between 10 and 12 furlongs, hooked up about a quarter-mile out and staged a worthy duel to the finish. Workforce still held a clear advantage a furlong from home, but So You Think wore him down with powerful strides on the outside. Sri Putra finished five lengths farther back in third, followed by a disappointing Snow Fairy and pace-maker Confront.

So You Think is a 5-year-old New Zealand-bred by High Chapparal who made his first 12 starts in Australia. Imported to Ireland over the winter and turned over to trainer Aidan O’Brien, So You Think cruised to two wins before Rewilding ran him down at Ascot. O’Brien suggested after the defeat that So You Think was not adequately fit for the run, but that certainly was not the case Saturday.

With Workforce making the first move, going inside Confront to take the lead perhaps five furlongs from home, So You Think had a target in the Eclipse instead of acting as a target, as he had in the Prince of Wales’s. Jockey Ryan Moore – So You Think’s rider his first three 2011 starts but committed to Workforce on Saturday – ramped up the pressure more than a quarter-mile from home, but So You Think, after taking a furlong or so to find his best stride under Seamus Heffernan, held his position before angling outside to make the winning move. The winner’s time for about 1 1/4 miles over good going was 2:04.77. Sandown’s homestretch moves uphill and times at the course tends to be slow.

O’Brien left options open for So You Think’s next start, mentioning the Irish Champion Stakes and Juddmonte International as possibilities.