The Championships’ flagship event, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, remains the goal for popular gelding I’m Thunderstruck despite his poor experience at The Valley on Saturday.
The Golden Eagle winner and Cox Plate runner-up registered the worst finishing position of his career when 11th of 15 in the $5 million All-Star Mile, won by Mr Brightside.
But the five-year-old pulled up distressed, diagnosed with heat stress, and co-trainer Michael Kent Jnr said he had pleasingly recovered well, meaning there was no reason to abort the campaign that has been aimed at the $5 million Group 1 over 2000m at Randwick on April 8.
“Initially (he was) not very good, he was quite severely affected by heat stress and he was a bit staggery, to be fair, but he recovered really good 20 minutes after,” Kent said on Monday morning.
“The Racing Victoria vets were unbelievable, there were five of them there helping us out cooling him off and he was good the next morning, this morning he’s great, so we’ll just take it day by day with him but certainly still the plan is to go to the Queen Elizabeth.”
The All-Star Mile effort, when beaten 6.85 lengths, was his first time outside the top five since last year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes, when he finished sixth.
The eight runs in between were all at Group 1 level and included a Makybe Diva Stakes win, second placings in the Cox Plate, Memsie Stakes and The Might And Power and a Futurity Stakes third placing.
“He had a tough run, ‘Thunder’, but he wasn’t beaten three lengths, he was beaten eight lengths, which is uncustomary for that horse,” Kent said.
“I think the heat stress was certainly the reason why he didn’t finish off like he can.”
I’m Thunderstruck is one of several runners that Kent trains in partnership with Mick Price that will participate at the big Randwick meetings in April with dual Group 1 winner Jacquinot to head to the $1.5 million All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 15.
The Golden Rose winner hasn’t started since his sixth placing in the Australian Guineas, which followed Group 1 C F Orr Stakes success, and Kent said the Rubick colt was back in their Cranbourne stable.
“He had a little freshen up and he’s super,” he said. “He’ll have a little trial in between and that will be a nice race for him.”
– RAS NewsWire