Kris Lees has included both Thump and Hera in the 2015 Coolmore Classic field, but the Newcastle-based trainer believes that Thump is his best chance in the Group 1 event at Flemington this weekend.
Thump was retired in August last year and was sent for a meeting with Fastnet Rock in the breeding barn, but the leading stallion was unable to get the mare in foal and she returned to the Lees stable.
The daughter of Red Ransom returned to racing with a surprise win in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 14 and Lees told RSN this morning that he was happy with the performance of Thump in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
Thump will be stepping up to 1500 metres for the first time in her racing career in the Coolmore Classic and Lees admits that she is a question mark at the trip, but he remains confident that the talented mare is a genuine chance of recording her first win at Group 1 level this weekend.
“They will both go around,” Lees said.
“Thump would be the major chance of the two on recent form and she seems to have come back really well.
“She won first-up and it was a nice effort two weeks ago.
“It was a high pressure race and she was up on the speed, the three horses were taking each other on and it was really set up for the backmarkers.
“She is a little bit of a doubt at the trip, but she will put herself in the right spot and I think that she has a good chance in what is not the best Coolmore field that we have seen – outside of possibly an outstanding three-year-old.”
Hera won the Group 2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa in New Zealand last year and arrived in Australia with plenty of expectations, but so far has failed to fire in her six starts at Group level in Australia.
The O’Reilly mare recorded her maiden race win in Australia in the Bradford Soundscreen Handicap (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 1, but she was outclassed in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 14 and was disappointing again in the Group 3 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
Thump is currently available at 2015 Coolmore Classic odds of $13 with Ladbrokes, while Hera is the outsider of the field at a quote of $101.