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Australian racing fans and punters are getting behind the highly-promising Bart Cummings-trained Do You Think for their first-up spring start at Caulfield on Saturday, the three-year-old firming into the clear 2011 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes favourite.
After opening as a $7.50 chance to take out the $125,000 Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) when betting on Caulfield Race 4 opened at Luxbet yesterday, big money bets have continued to roll in for Starcraft colt Do You Think.
They now sit top of the McNeil Stakes odds paying $4, overtaking Peter Moody’s triple stakes winner Golden Archer who has drifted out from $4.40 to $4.60.
Do You Think, originally named Ingham being from Danehill mare Chickens, has to date started three times having won two of their starts as a juvenile last season.
They are raced by renowned thoroughbred owner Dato Tan Chin Nam, who formerly owned dual Cox Plate champion So You Think.
A strong victory on debut at Canterbury back in March, where they defeated the likes of Adam Duggan’s Snitzel filly Fox and recent Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes winner Manawanui, showed Cummings and connections that they had something special in Do You Think.
The horse backed up on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill to win the Group 3 The Schweppervescence (140m) before running unplaced behind the Peter Snowden-trained Helmet in the Group 1 AJC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Derby Day.
Beaten favourite in the Sires Produce, Do You Think finished eighth but was only beaten two lengths before Cummings sent them to the paddock to prepare for an ambitious spring preparation.
Hugh Bowman rode Do You Think for their three starts as a two-year-old, but on Saturday Cummings has engaged the services of another ace hoop with Steven Arnold to take the mount for the HDF McNeil Stakes.
Arnold rode Cummings’ former stable star So You Think for their six spring starts last year including the champion’s four straight Group 1 victories in the Underwood Stakes, Yalumba Stakes, Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes, as well as their third to winner Americain in the Melbourne Cup.
The jockey said he was looking forward to getting on the back of Do You Think and seeing where this horse was in comparison to So You Think.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” Arnold said.
“You don’t want to hype them up too much, let’s just let him show us on raceday what to expect from him.
“He’s a nice horse who had a good first preparation.
“He ran a couple of nice races and we’re looking for a good run.”
Do You Think came up trumps with the ideal barrier three draw for Saturday’s showdown as they look to prove their potential against the likes of well performing fillies Satin Shoes and Metonymy.
Although the punters have been backing Do You Think like they’re unbeatable, Arnold has warned that they are not prepared to peak until later in the season and that tomorrow’s race is just the start.
“From the feel I get, he’s probably slightly underdone, so we’re a little bit cautious about him but looking forward to the run,” he said.
“He’ll probably progress a lot from that.”
Cummings has Do You Think heading towards the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8, for which they are currently paying $21 to win through Luxbet.
Caulfield Guineas 2011 futures odds are lead by Helmet ($6.50) and Anthony Cummings’ untapped colt Smart Missile, the two to make their own new season debuts at Rosehill when they face off in the $125,000 Group 3 Run To The Rose on Saturday.
If they progress through their early season starts the way Cummings believes they will, then Do You Think could earn the chance to line-up in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
2011 Cox Plate betting at Luxbet has Do You Think installed as a $61 roughie, but if they win at Caulfield tomorrow their price is likely to firm into around the $30 mark.
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