So You Think (NZ) will be looking to rewrite the record books when he contests the G1 Arc de Triomphe (2400m) at Longchamp on Sunday.
The Arc has been won by the likes of Sea The Stars (Cape Cross), Zarkava (Zamindar), Dylan Thomas (Danehill), Hurricane Run (Montjeu), Dalakhani (Darshaan) and Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells) in recent years.
Further back, it has been won by icons Dancing Brave (Lyphard), Mill Reef (Never Bend), Sea Bird (Dan Cupid) and Ribot (Tenerani).
If successful, So You Think (High Chaparral) will be the first southern hemisphere horse to win in its 90 year history.
New Zealand bred Balmerino (Trictrac) was runner-up in 1977 behind Alleged (Hoist the Flag). Aussie champ Strawberry Road (Whiskey Road) finished fifth in 1984.
The only horse in history to win the Cox Plate at ages three and four, So You Think is a last-start winner of the G1 Irish Champion Stakes (2000m).
He has never raced over 2400m but showed an ability to perform over longer trips when running a brave third in the 2010 Melbourne Cup over 3200m.
Nevertheless, Arc de Triomphe will be the toughest test of his career.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien will saddle three additional runners on Sunday; G1 Coronation Gold Cup winner St Nicholas Abbey (Montjeu), G1 Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach (Galileo) and Seville (Galileo).
Sarafina (Refuse to Bend) is the 3-1 pre-post favourite. She is trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre for the Aga Khan and is coming off the back of wins in the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and the G2 Prix Foy.
Last year’s winner Workforce (King’s Best) is quoted at 7-1. He was second to Nathaniel in the G1 King George at Ascot in July. Only five horses in the Arc’s history have won it back-to-back. The last was Alleged in 1977-78.
Three-year-olds have won 14 of the last 17 Arcs and the only horse to beat the classic group since 2003 has been Dylan Thomas in 2007.
Heading the three-year-olds this year is blueblood filly Galikova. She is a Galileo half-sister to G1 star Goldikova and is a 1ast start winner of the G1 Prix Vermeille.