09/01/2011 11:36AM

So You Think odds-on choice in Irish Champion


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So You ThinkPress Association ImagesSo You Think (left) will be a heavy favorite Saturday.

Leopardstown first post: 10:40 a.m. Eastern. Irish Champion: 1:45 p.m. Eastern.

So You Think, the winner of two Group 1 races in Europe earlier this year, and a remarkable three Group 1 races in October alone in Australia last year, will be a heavy favorite to win yet another race at that level in Saturday’s Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown Racecourse in Ireland.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, So You Think heads a field of six in the race over 1 1/4 miles, the 5-year-old’s first start since a win in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park in England on July 2. The Irish Champion Stakes has a purse of approximately $1,072,000.

A New Zealand-bred by High Chaparral, So You Think was being offered on Thursday at odds of 3-10 to win the Irish Champion, which is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge program, offering a fees-paid berth to the winner for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

So You Think is the only member of the Irish Champion field coming into the race off a win. Snow Fairy, the 4-year-old filly who won Group 1 races in four countries last year, is the second choice, following a second-place finish to Midday in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes in England in July.

O’Brien trains half the field, also starting Roderic O’Conner, well-beaten in two starts since a win in the Irish 2000 Guineas in May; and Recital, a Group 2 winner in Ireland in May who was sixth in the English Derby.

O’Brien is expected to dominate the major races at Leopardstown on Saturday. He starts Misty for Me in the Group 1, $271,700 Matron Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile.

Owned by Michael Tabor, Misty For Me was listed as an 11-8 favorite in early betting for the Matron Stakes as of Thursday. A 3-year-old Irish-bred filly by Galileo, Misty For Me has won two Group 1 races this year in Ireland – the Irish 1000 Guineas and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

Emulous, a 4-year-old filly trained by Dermot Weld, will attempt to win her third consecutive group race in the Matron, but first at the Group 1 level. O’Brien has three of the eight entrants, including Together, the runner-up in both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas in the spring.

Seamie Heffernan has the ride on So You Think and Misty For Me.

In England, Dream Ahead and Hoof It are lukewarm favorites in a field of 16 for the Group 1, $384,300 Betfred Sprint Cup over a straightaway six furlongs at Haydock, both listed at 4-1 as of Thursday.

Dream Ahead won the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket on July 9, but was a disappointing seventh as the even-money favorite in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, France, on Aug. 7. Hoof It won the 27-runner Stewards’ Cup over six furlongs at Goodwood in July, but was sixth as the favorite in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes over five furlongs at York on Aug. 19.

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The Irish Champion Stakes is part of the 2011 Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" challenge

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