Clipperton Confident Think About It Can Climb More Mountains

Think About It already has the nation’s best sprint race on his CV and as he starts a preparation aimed at Australia’s premier handicap mile jockey Sam Clipperton wonders what he can achieve in 2024.

Jockey Sam Clipperton (Pic: Bradley Photos)

It’s easy to forget that at this time a year ago the gelding had just graduated to Group company, winning the Liverpool City Cup, but now he’s a dual Group 1 winner and reigning TAB Everest champion who is about to have his limits tested.

Clipperton said, going into the Group 1 $750,000 James Squire Canterbury Stakes (1300m), there’s every reason to think as a mature five-year-old has more mountains to climb.

“I don’t think we have reached his ceiling yet,’’ Clipperton said.

“He was beaten after the Everest, it’s hard to say whether he was flat that day but winning the Premiere and being trained to the minute for the Everest, and winning, naturally it’s going to take the edge off them.

“He’s had a really good break, he’s had seven weeks, I don’t think he’s had that long off since the start of 2023.

“Being a five-year-old and only having 13 starts, he’s so lightly raced and already achieved so much, there’s no reason why he can’t get better.”

Trainer Joe Pride has given Think About It two barrier trials in preparation for his return and Clipperton said he’s seen nothing to suggest he won’t be hard to beat as he usually is.

He’s drawn the outside in a seven horse field that includes noted speed horses like his stablemate Coal Crusher and Malkovich so the jockey is expecting a contest.

“He can’t be going into that race underdone at the end of the day it’s a Group 1 weight-for-age race and there’s no easy assignments,’’ Clipperton said.

“He’ll be there, he’ll be competitive as always, and I can’t wait.”

“I’ve had two sits on him at the trials and he feels like he’s returned really well.

“Being such a competitive horse he always trials well. He’s furnished out really nicely and I think we will see a more mature Think About It and particularly as he steps out over a further distance.”

Think About It, $1.90 with TAB on Thursday, will reach the $4m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at his third run for the autumn.

Pride plans to head to the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on Golden Slipper Day, and a clash with Fangirl, as his major lead in to the Doncaster where he has 57kg.

“It’s a little bit of an experimental preparation for him but he’s already won a Stradbroke over 1400m and I remember when I first won on the horse at Warwick Farm I said this horse is a miler,’’ Clipperton said.

“Turns out he’s won an Everest.

“I was probably expecting a little bit more weight, 57kg is a weight I can see him being competitive with and I can’t see it being any baggage.”

Naturally there’s the weight of expectation on the Everest winner for his new campaign, he won nine straight races before being beaten in the $3m Giga Kick Stakes (1300m).

Pride feels a little of that and has said openly this week that he wouldn’t be too concerned if Think About It didn’t win first-up, so long as he runs well.

“He’s been at that level for a while now, you almost go into races feeling like you’ve got more to lose than to win with horses like this,’’ Pride said.

“He’s been beaten a couple of times so he’s not defending any kind of streak or unbeaten record, I’m just happy to have him back.

“I’m happy this is where we are starting, where we finish is the important thing.”

A TAB Everest defence later this year will likely depend on whether Think About It is as successful at 1600m and beyond as he’s been over the shorter trips.

– Racing NSW

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