Thunder Lady is set to contest the 2015 Australian Oaks at Royal Randwick on Saturday and trainer John Sargent believes that the staying filly is peaking at the right time for the Group 1 event.
Thunder Lady stamped herself as a horse to follow when she took out the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and finished second in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2500m), but she made a slow start to her autumn campaign in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21 and the Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on March 13.
Sargent said in the lead-up to the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) that he was confident that Thunder Lady would perform at close to her best in the race at Rosehill Gardens on March 28 and his prediction proved correct when she surged home late to finish third behind Fenway.
The Royal Randwick-based trainer told Racing Ahead this morning that he was delighted with the Vinery Stud Stakes performance of Thunder Lady and he believes that the Mastercraftsman filly had trained on heading into the 2015 Australian Oaks.
“I thought all along that we wouldn’t see her at her best until she got to 2000 and it was d-day at Rosehill the other day in the Vinery and she went as good as expected,” Sargent said.
“She hit the line strongly and I couldn’t have been happier with the horse.
“She will go into the race peaking at the right time.”
Thunder Lady has been ridden by seven different jockeys in her last seven starts, but leading Hong Kong-based hoop Zac Purton has been booked to ride the three-year-old in the Australian Oaks, while Tye Angland has been swapped to stablemate Gust Of Wind.
Sargent said that he was more than happy to have a jockey the quality of Purton on Thunder Lady and he revealed that he will be leaving the riding instructions up to the prolific Group 1 winning hoop.
“I will just leave it to Zac to pick out a path,” Sargent said.
“She can do a bit of either, but the closest you would see her would be midfield I would say or she can get back.
“They will probably spread out if there is a bit of speed early and if he can slot her in one off somewhere she has a big finish.
“Randwick will really suit her with the big long straight and up the rise.”
Thunder Lady is currently available at 2015 Australian Oaks odds with Ladbrokes, while Winx ($4.20) is currently a clear favourite from Fenway ($6), Ballet Suite ($7.50) and Savaria ($8).