Cummings Hoping Track Improves Before The Australian Derby

By: Thomas Hackett
April 10th, 2014

Thunder Fantasy is rated one of the leading chances in the 2014 Australian Derby, but trainer Anthony Cummings is hoping that the rain stays away in the lead-up to the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick this weekend.

Thunder Fantasy is chasing his maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2014 Australian Derby this weekend.

Thunder Fantasy is chasing his maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2014 Australian Derby this weekend. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

Thunder Fantasy worked home strongly to finish second behind Criterion in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on a slow Rosehill Gardens tracks on March 29 and Cummings believes that the Lucky Owners colt could have scored his maiden win at Group 1 level if the track had not been affected by rain.

“Thunder Fantasy was perhaps a bit unlucky,” Cummings told TVN this morning.

“Damien sort of steered a wider course and covered a bit of extra ground and in doing that gave the winning run to the winner.

“Probably the winning margin was reflected by the different tracks that they took.

“There was a fair bit of merit it would he did and I think that he would be better if the track was better and I would rather see the rain go away.

“I don’t think that he is as good as the tracks get worse.”

Cummings also has Surge Ahead in the 2014 Australian Derby field and is confident that the Danehill Dancer gelding can improve on his seventh place finish in the Rosehill Guineas.

Surge Ahead stamped himself as a genuine Group 1 contender with a tough third place finish behind Pheidon and Cadillac Mountain in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 14 and Cummings believes that the three-year-old can be competitive if he reproduces that performance in the Australian Derby this weekend.

“Surge Ahead is ok on it, but he got knocked around and lost his balance on the turn at Rosehill and lost his momentum,” Cummings said.

“That track certainly was a momentum track and once he lost it he found it hard to get going again.

“I think that his form at the Valley is the right run to take him on and there is certainly some form there.”

Thunder Fantasy is currently on the third line of 2014 Australian Derby betting markets at a quote of $8, while Surge Ahead is available at the lengthy Australian Derby odds of $61.

Cummings has had very little luck in the Australian Derby and missed the placings with the likes of Strike The Stars (2012), Home On A Wing (2010), Dealer Principal (2008), Solo Flyer (2008), Red Lord (2007) and Outback Prince (2005).

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