Thunder Fantasy has kicked off his 2014 calendar in the best possible way with a comfortable victory in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield this weekend.
Early favourite for the 2014 Autumn Stakes Polanski was a late scratching overnight, opening the door for David Payne-trained colt Rock Hero to jump as $3.30 market leader.
Representative of Anthony Cummings’ Stables Dan Williams revealed the team was always confident in the abilities of the Thunder Fantasy, and believed a win was still likely had Polanski lined up in the event.
“We were pretty confident to be honest” Williams said following the race.
“Like I said on Wednesday, he’s been really sharp over these shorter distances. Obviously Polanski is a quality horse but I think we might have had the measure over him today, but it’s easy to say now.”
Having displayed a notable amount of energy and good-demeanour in the mounting yard, Thunder Fantasy looked relaxed throughout the entire race, settling just off the pace before claiming the lead 200m from home, opening a gap to win by one and a quarter lengths.
“I was really happy with the way he did that today and then just relaxed in the run” Williams said.
“And when Mark (Zahra) really got stuck into him on the turn and he responded really quickly and it was a terrific effort.
“The more relaxed he gets throughout his campaign as I know he does, the more you’ll see that burst I reckon.”
Jockey Mark Zahra revealed after the race that despite trialling well with the son of Lucky Owners three weeks ago, he was not sure whether or not he was formed enough to score a first-up victory in the Autumn Stakes.
“I trialed him a few weeks ago and thought he might not be might not be sharp enough but Anthony assured me that he had a few problems which he’d fixed and he gave me a great feel today” Zahra said post-race.
“I travelled well and I thought that I had them covered a long way out.”
Thunder Fantasy has been included in nominations for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st as well as the Australian Cup (2000m), scheduled to run on March 8th.
There’s still plenty more notable events to run at both Caulfield and Royal Randwick today, so be sure to open an account with Ladbrokes.com.au if you’re have a bet!
2014 Autumn Stakes Results
|1||3||THUNDER FANTASY||Anthony Cummings||Mark Zahra||–||3||56kg||$7|
|2||2||ROCK HERO||David Payne||Michael Rodd||1.75L||4||57kg||$3.30F|
|3||5||LATE CHARGE||Wendy Kelly||Vlad Duric||1.95L||8||56kg||$6|
|4||10||BARDEM (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2.15L||5||56kg||$21|
|5||4||COUNTERSNIP||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||3.15L||2||56kg||$10|
|6||6||BRING SOMETHING||Ken Keys||Glen Boss||3.55L||1||56kg||$18|
|7||9||PYRROLIC||Michael Kent||Brad Rawiller||4.3L||7||56kg||$4.20|
|8||8||ACCORD||Michael Kent||Craig Williams||7.3L||6||56kg||$15|