So You Think has been defeated for the first time on European soil after going down to Rewilding in the Group One Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot overnight.
So You Think looked the winner in the final straight, however Rewilding, who comes from the powerful Godolphin yard, responded to hard riding from Frankie Dettori to nail the So You Think at the winning post.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien blamed himself for So You Think’s loss, saying he hadn’t given the horse a suitable preparation coming into the Group One event.
“I take responsibility for this totally,” O’Brien said.
“I think it was trainer error, I didn’t have him fit enough for this kind of race.
“Because he won his first two starts so easily I wasn’t getting into him like you might. Because he was winning so easily I was just letting him come along gently and not training him that hard.
“It’s my fault he got that little bit tired at the end. I’m sorry but we’ll go on from here and I expect plenty of improvement.”
So You Think was sent out as a red hot favourite, and the race seemed to be going to plan for the Ballydoyle team when O’Brien’s son Joseph took noted pacemaker Jan Vermeer to the front of the field, leaving So You Think in the box seat.
However Jan Vermeer faded quickly at the 500 meter mark, leaving So You Think at the front of the field. Ryan Moore went for home on the favourite and he looked to be travelling like the winner, until Rewilding responded to hard riding from Frankie Dettori and started to come home strongly down the outside.
So You Think fought on gamely in the final furlong but he couldn’t hold out the Godolphin star, who made it back to back Group One’s after claiming the Sheema Classic in Dubai in March.
Dettori, who notched up his first winner of the Ascot carnival, was typically flamboyant after the race, however he did praise the courage of So You Think.
“I have to say the second horse never gave up. It was a tremendous gallop with two great horses,” Dettori said.
“When I got past him it was sheer joy. It was sheer joy just to be in the race. I’m delighted for Rewilding as he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He’s a very good horse and he showed his true colours today.
“This is what we are here for, to ride these kind of finishes in great races.”
Dettori’s celebrations were tempered after the race when he learned he had copped a nine day suspension for excessive use of the whip on Rewilding.
Stewards ruled that Dettori used the whip 24 times in the final furlong. His suspension will run from June 29 to July 7, meaning he will miss the Coral Eclipse Stakes meeting at Sandown and the first day of the Newmarket carnival.
It was a big win for Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, who trained his first Ascot winner for Sheikh Mohammed. Although Al Zarooni was quick to heap praise on the Godolphin boss.
“I have to be honest it’s not me, it’s him (Sheikh Mohammed). He always gives us instructions on how to deal with horses. From training them, to feeding them and everything. It was his highness decision to drop the horse back in distance. We are still learning and he has been racing in England for a long time.” Al Zarooni said.
Rewilding will return to Royal Ascot in July for the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, while O’Brien said that he hadn’t selected a race for So You Think, but identified the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown as a possibility.