Trainer Anthony Cummings will field three runners in this weekend’s major Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m), and is confident of walking away from Royal Randwick with the day’s major crown in week 1 of the inaugural The Championships.
Having finished a competitive second in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) last time out, Thunder Fantasy arguably offers Cummings his great chance of success this weekend, and will leave from the ideal barrier 8.
“Thunder Fantasy covered a bit of ground coming into the straight and basically gave the winning run to the winner” Cummings told AAP.
“Watching the race I wouldn’t argue with what Ollie (jockey Damien Oliver) did. But where the winner came from, I wished he’d gone that way.
“Life’s like that but nonetheless his run was very good.
“He beat the other horses clearly and goes in there as the logical second pick to Criterion but I think he needs the track firmer than it is now.”
Having also accepted positions in the final field for Surge Ahead and Best Case, Cummings said each has something to offer the 2014 Australian Derby.
“He (Surge Ahead) lost momentum and lost his field position (Rosehill Guineas) and with a clear run on Saturday and without the mad runaway tactics that were there last time, he’s going to be far more in contention” Cummings said.
“Best Case has great form. He was a really good third the other day whereas the winner had a clear running all the way through.”
Having returned to the track in scintillating form this preparation, Thunder Fantasy is currently offered as outright second favourite in betting markets for the 2014 Australian Derby at a quote of $7.
Thunder Fantasy strolled home to win the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) by nearly two lengths first-up on February 8th, producing a strong turn of foot to finish a competitive third in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 1st.
While unable to figure when 8th in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) just one week last on March 8th, the Lucky Owners colt will carry peak condition into the 2014 Australian Derby, and will be partnered by champion Jockey Damien Oliver once more.
While each given little chance of success in Derby betting markets, Surge Ahead ($61) will be boosted by leading Hong Kong jockey Zac Purton confirmed to take the ride, while Best Case ($31) will leave from barrier 13 with jockey Christian Reith on board.
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