Trainer John Sargent believes that Thunder Lady will be close to her peak when she steps-up to 2000 metres for the 2015 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Thunder Lady stamped herself as a filly to watch when she won the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and finished set in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but she made a slow start to her autumn campaign in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21 before she produced an improved effort when fifth behind Slightly Sweet in the Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange on March 13.
Sargent told Racing Ahead that he was very pleased with the Keith Nolan Classic effort of Thunder Lady and he said that the Mastercraftsman filly had trained on strongly coming out of the race and is ready to perform at her best in both the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
“It was a good effort, James McDonald got off her and he was wrapped,” Sargent said.
“He said that she is going the right way because he has been working her a bit, but obviously he since then he has been offered First Seal for the Vinery and we have lost nothing with Tye Angland riding the filly.
“He galloped her on Tuesday on the course proper over a mile and she worked very well.
“She is a big filly now and I don’t think that you will see the best of her until Saturday and into the Oaks, once we get to 2000 metres and beyond.
“We saw it with Preferment and we are on a similar path.
“There could be a sharp couple of horses in this coming through the grades at 2000 like First Seal, but once they get over 2000 that sorts the stayers out from the middle distance horses.”
Sargent also included progressive filly Gust Of Wind in the 2015 Vinery Stud Stakes nominations, but the Royal Randwick-based trainer elected not to include the Darci Brahama filly in the field for the Group 1 event and she will instead make her black-type racing debut with in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 4.
“It is the same owners as Thunder Lady and I will save her for the following week and she will run in the Adrian Knox,” Sargent said.
“That will give us a good line whether she runs in the Australian Oaks the following week.”
Sargent is chasing his first win at Group 1 level since Kirramosa took out the 2013 edition of the Crown Oaks.