Trainer Anthony Cummings is confident that Thunder Fantasy can bounce back to his best form in the 2014 Rosehill Guineas on Saturday after beating home just a single runner in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8.
Thunder Fantasy started his autumn preparation with a win in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8 and finished a credible third in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1, but had plenty go against him in the Australian Cup the following weekend.
Cummings told Racing Ahead this morning that Thunder Fantasy never had a chance in the Australian Cup, after losing a plate jumping from the barriers, but had recovered from the run well and is in good shape heading into the 2014 Rosehill Guineas this weekend.
“We are really pleased,” Cummings said.
“There are plenty of excuses for him out of the Australian Cup and that is strong form for a race like this.
“His third in the Guineas and his first-up win all speak very well about the way that he has come back this preparation.
“I was very pleased with his gallop here on Tuesday and having already had the run over 2000 metres that will stand him in good stead for Saturday.
The weather is set to play a key role in deciding the outcome of the 2014 Rosehill Guineas; with Thunder Fantasy one of several horses in the field that have no experience running on a rain affected track.
Cummings admits that he is uncertain how Thunder Fantasy will handle the soft going, but said that the son of Lucky Owners performed strongly in trackwork on a wet surface earlier in the week.
“The only time in his last two preparations where he has worked poorly was on a wet track here at Randwick so I don’t know, but he certainly didn’t show any of that on Tuesday,” Cummings said.
“He was very comfortable and stretched out very well, so it is a bit of a mystery.
“I am just hoping that he handles it.”
Thunder Fantasy has shown plenty of versatility throughout his racing career and jockey Damien Oliver will have plenty of options from barrier six in the Rosehill Guineas this weekend; with Cummings happy to leave the riding instructions up to the leading hoop.
“I think I will just leave that to Ollie,” Cummings said.
“He has drawn ok and typically he has been good out of the gate, but last time he quartered his heel and took his shoe off coming out of the gates.
“There were a few things happening in that race that saw him not finish off as well, but that would be unlikely to reoccur.
“He goes in there in a good spot, I expect him to be in the first half of the field and I will leave the rest to Ollie.”
Cummings is chasing his second win in the Rosehill Guineas after winning the 2008 edition of the race with Dealer Principal.