Thunder Lady needs to win the 2015 Lexus Stakes to secure a place in the 2015 Melbourne Cup field, but trainer John Sargent is confident that the talented mare is capable of doing just that when she contests the Group 3 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Thunder Lady stamped herself as a stayer to watch when she took out the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and finished second behind in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival before she finished third in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and fifth in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) during the autumn.
The Mastercraftsman mare made a slow start to her 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and she beat home just a single runner across her three race starts in the Canterbury Hurlstone Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15, the TAB.Com.Au Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 29 and the Ranvet Handicap (1800m) at the same venue on September 12, but she produced an improved performance to finish second behind Araldo Junior in the Benalla Gold Cup (2046m) on October 2.
Thunder Lady did not have a great deal of luck in running in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 17, but Sargent believes that the Group 1 placegetter took plenty of benefit from the run and is ready to return to her very best form in the 2015 Lexus Stakes on Saturday.
“She will go to the Lexus,” Sargent said.
“She is 30th at the moment so she will probably have to win the Lexus, but she loves Flemington – she was second in the Oaks and she won the Wakeful.
“She will be at peak for Saturday.”
Sargent has not had a runner in the Melbourne Cup since Red Ruler finished 19th behind Americain in the 2010 edition of the race, but he could be represented by both Gust Of Wind and Thunder Lady in this year’s race, if the latter is successful in the Lexus Stakes.
“It would be fantastic,” Sargent said.
“We will keep our fingers crossed that they will stay sound and we get them there.”
While Sargent is bullish about the Lexus Stakes chance of Thunder Lady, she is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $301 with Ladbrokes, while Gust Of Wind is priced at $21 to complete the Australian Oaks/Lexus Stakes double.
You can score the best Lexus Stakes odds with Ladbrokes, who will offer Best Tote or Starting Price +20% for every single race at Flemington on Saturday.