Trainer Anthony Cummings is confident that Thunder Fantasy will relish the wide Flemington track when he contests the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) on Saturday.
Thunder Fantasy began his racing career under Cummings’ care in early 2013, but the galloper was transferred to the care of Hong Kong-based trainer John Size following a smart three-year-old campaign in the autumn of 2014.
Having returned to Australia to win the #TheRaces October Handicap (1400m) as a $41 outsider on October 8th, the Lucky Owners entire has continued to receive a great deal of attention from punters this week, who have seen his Canatala Stakes odds firm from $31 into a current $18 quote.
Thunder Fantasy won the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) and finished second behind Criterion in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) most notably as a three-year-old, but the horse undoubtedly kicked up a gear during his Hong Kong tenure; highlighted by a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m) in 2015.
Cummings is thrilled to have had the now six-year-old return to his Caulfield stables and is confident that Flemington will play a key role in Thunder Fantasy’s Cantala Stakes performance.
“He ran third in the Victoria Derby there and was runner-up in Shamus Award’s Australian Guineas for me before he went to Hong Kong,” Cummings told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“He loves Flemington and I wanted to get him there for a group 1 during the carnival, but I thought it was a bit of a dream.
“He is still a bull and if wins he would find a home at stud somewhere.
“It took quite a bit of work to get him back fit and well and that first-up run was always a test because although I thought he was going all right, you don’t really know with these older horses.
“To win under 63 (kgs), that hasn’t been done for a while in Sydney and he is only going to carry about 55 on Saturday, so he won’t know himself. He was always going to take improvement from that run but has surprised me with how well he has come on.
“I think the mile is his best trip and a win on Saturday would be a lot bigger than $1 million prizemoney.”
Cummings has booked Tye Angland to ride Thunder Fantasy in the Cantala Stakes and revealed that the horse’s future plans will hinge on his performance this weekend.
“Tye rode him perfectly the other day and knows him and it is an advantage to have him staying with him,” Cummings said.
“He has a few options after Saturday. I could run him in the Mackinnon [Stakes] but there are couple of good group 1s in Perth and that would show him off in front of the studs over there.”
Thunder Fantasy’s Cantala Stakes odds dictate that he is currently perched on the ninth line of betting with Ladbrokes Australia.