Zac Purton has picked up the ride on Thunder Lady in the 2015 Australian Oaks and he is confident that the talented filly can deliver him a maiden win in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Thunder Lady has been ridden by Jim Byrne, Mitchell Bell, Blake Shinn, Tommy Berry, Tim Clark, James McDonald and Tye Angland in his past seven starts, but owner Oliver Wong was keen to have Purton on the three-year-old in the Australian Oaks and the Hong Kong-based hoop was more than happy to pick up his first ride in the race since he finished second on Perfect Drop in the 2007 edition of the race.
The Mastercraftsman filly made a slow start to her autumn preparation, finishing 12th in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21 and fifth in the Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on March 13, but she returned to her best form with a strong third in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28 and Purton believes that the Crown Oaks runner-up will be right in the finish if she is able to replicate that effort in the 2015 Australian Oaks this weekend.
“It was a really good run,” Purton said.
“She has done nothing wrong and John tends to set his horses for certain races and I know that he has set her for this race.
“I am confident in him having the horse ready and he knows how to do it and get it done.
“She was pretty strong there last start, she was in a good spot and Tye gave her a good ride, but she was probably just one run short and I think the big track at Randwick will really suit her.
“I know in the back of my mind that she is going to get the trip and there were a couple of other horses in that race at Rosehill that ran nearly as good as her, but I thought the last 50 metres on the line she was holding them off and she was the best of them.
“She will have a pretty good chance.”
Thunder Lady is currently available at 2015 Australian Oaks odd of $6.50 with Ladbrokes, while Chris Waller-trained Winx ($4.20) remains a narrow favourite from Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fenway ($6) and progressive filly Ballet Suite ($7.50).