Updated on 06/30/2011 4:35PM

Workforce, So You Think finally meet in Eclipse at Sandown


There were suggestions that the connections of Workforce, winner of the English Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last year, ducked an engagement with highly touted Australian import So You Think in the June 15 Prince of Wales's. So You Think wound up losing the Prince of Wales's anyway, run down in the final strides by Rewilding, and the Workforce-So You Think showdown comes instead on Saturday at Sandown, where the two meet up in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes. Just five are expected to start in the Eclipse, but the field also includes Snow Fairy, one of the world’s best fillies.

So You Think had galloped to victory against overmatched rivals in two Irish starts to start the European phase of his career this spring, but the wins might have come too easily. Trainer Aidan O’Brien suggested So You Think fell short of peak fitness at Ascot, failing to stay on sufficiently after making a fairly early lead in the Prince of Wales's. No such excuse will exist Saturday, where So You Think should find good-to-firm going that suits him.

Instead of trying the Prince of Wales's, Workforce was sent to Sandown for the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard, which he won over the same distance as Saturday’s race. Contested down two straights and one fairly tight right-handed turn, the Eclipse’s 10 furlongs probably fall short of Workforce’s ideal distance, but his rally in the Brigadier Gerard came in plenty of time, and the steep uphill finish at Sandown plays to Workforce’s strength.

Ryan Moore rode So You Think in his three previous races, but Moore serves as stable jockey for Workforce’s trainer, Michael Stoute, and that is his mount Saturday. Seamie Heffernan takes over on So You Think, who should have first run on Workforce.

Snow Fairy is set to make her first start since a trip to the Far East late last year netted a pair of Group 1 wins, first in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto, then in Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin. Snow Fairy faces a mighty challenge, however, encountering the two strongest foes she’s ever met while making her 2011 debut.