Thunder Fantasy worked home strongly to record his maiden win at Group level in the 2014 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield this afternoon.
The Lucky Owners colt finished third behind Polanski in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and franked the Derby form with a very impressive performance in the Group 2 event this afternoon.
Thunder Fantasy settled just off the pace in the early stages of the Autumn Stakes and worked into the race strongly before challenging the talented Rock Hero when asked for an extra effort by jockey Mark Zahra at the 250 metre mark.
The scratching of Polanski due to a skin infection meant that Thunder Fantasy was unable to avenge his Victoria Derby defeat, but Anthony Cummings stable representative Dan Williams said that the team were confident they had the measure of the Rakti colt.
“We were pretty confident to be honest,” Williams said after the race.
“He has really been sharp over these sort of distances.
“Obviously Polanski is a quality horse, but I think that we would have had the measure of him today.
“I was really happy with the way that he relaxed in the run and when Mark got stuck into him on the turn he responded really quickly.”
Thunder Fantasy has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1, the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at the same venue on March 8 and the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and Williams is confident that the talented colt will improve when he steps up in distance.
“The more he relaxed he gets throughout his prep, which I know he does, the more you will see that turn-of-foot,” Williams said.
“He will go onto the Guineas and he is entered in the Cup as well.”
The win gave jockey Mark Zahra his second win in the Autumn Stakes, after taking out the race with Pied A Terre in 2012, and the popular jockey admitted that he was surprised by the tactical speed that Thunder Fantasy showed in the early stages of the race.
“I trialed him here a few weeks ago and I thought that he might not be sharp enough,” Zahra said.
“Anthony assured me that he had a few problems that he had fixed and he gave me a great feel today.
“I travelled well and I thought that I had them covered a long way out.”
Thunder Fantasy will have the opportunity to become the first horse since Light Fantastic in 2008 to complete the Autumn Stakes/Australian Guineas double.