Trainer Anthony Cummings has confirmed that talented three-year-old Thunder Fantasy will contest the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
Thunder Fantasy stamped himself as a colt to watch with a dominant five lengths victory in the NSW Colour TV Company Handicap (1600m) at Newcastle on September 18 during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but failed to fire in either the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 or the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a week later.
The son of Lucky Owners went into the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 2 as an outsider, but fought home strongly in the final stages of the race to finish third behind Polanski and Complacent.
Cummings told Sky Racing HQ that Thunder Fantasy arrived in Melbourne earlier this week and said that the three-year-old will resume in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8 before stepping back up to Group 1 level for the Australian Guineas.
“He is a quality three-year-old and he will go to Melbourne and be a live chance in the Guineas there,” Cummings said.
“There are a couple of lead-up races; one is two weeks out at Flemington (CS Hayes Stakes) and one is three weeks out at Caulfield (Autumn Stakes).
“At this stage he is probably going to go to the one three weeks.”
Thunder Fantasy showed that he can run a strong 2500 metres in the Victoria Derby, but Cummings said he is unsure whether he will give the talented galloper another opportunity in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
The Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8, the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15 and the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 29 are all possible targets for Thunder Fantasy and Cummings will make a decision on which races to target after the Australian Guineas.
“He was very good in the Victoria Derby and even though he ran so well there, I am still not convinced that he is a mile and a half horse,” Cummings said.
“We have some choices to make after the (Australian) Guineas; whether we stay for the Australian Cup or he comes back here for the Guineas.
“There are a few choices for him.”
Cummings is chasing his first win in the Australian Guineas after finishing second with both Strike The Stars in 2012 and Casino Prince in 2007.