I’m Thunderstruck is gearing up for a busy spring, with trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr setting their sights on plenty of feature spoils with the Group One winner.
The New Zealand-bred gelding has proved a massive money-spinner for his connections, winning six of his 14 starts, including the Gr.1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), A$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m), and was runner-up in both the A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) and Gr.1 Doncaster (1600m) behind fellow Kiwi private purchase Mr Brightside in autumn.
His trainers said the challenge now for the son of Shocking is to step up to weight-for-age, with his season set to culminate with a tilt at the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) in October.
“He’s got to go to weight-for-age now, we think he can. He has got the right size, strength, and turn of foot to be a weight-for-age horse,” Kent told RSN.
“We were pretty outspoken last prep that he was a little behind at the start of the preparation, he caught up pretty well. He was held up in the All-Star Mile and ran a good second to Zaaki. The Doncaster was good and he gave a lot of weight to Mr Brightside.
“He has had a trial already and is going to Sandown tomorrow for a racecourse gallop and will have another trial next Monday.
“For the Memsie (Gr.1, 1400m) first-up he will be well forward.
“I think a race like the Makybe Diva (Gr.1, 1600m) second-up and the Underwood, which is at Sandown Hillside this year, will be his two races.
“We have got Mark Zahra booked for the first-up run, so hopefully he is lucky for us.”
Kent said he would then likely press on to the Gr.1 Might and Power Stakes (2000m) before the Cox Plate.
“We are going to the Cox Plate, that is the plan at this stage is Memsie, Makybe, Underwood, Might And Power, and Cox Plate,” he said.
“It is a busy prep but he is a very tough, sound horse and is going really well.”
While sixth in the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in his only test over 2000m to date, Kent believes the five-year-old will handle the distance.
“We haven’t really tested him yet (over 2000m). We kept him fresh for the Golden Eagle the prep before last. Last prep he had one go at 2000m – it was an afterthought, a week back-up from the Doncaster, and it was on a Heavy 12 track and he hated it,” he said.
“He is by Shocking after all and is relaxing better than ever.”
I’m Thunderstruck was bred by Cambridge couple Tony Forlong and Jennifer Jones.
Previously based in Kumeu, chartered accountant Forlong and accomplished rider Jones purchased I’m Thunderstruck’s dam Primadonna Girl for just $2400 through good friend Danny Rolston, former Bloodstock Sales Manager for New Zealand Bloodstock.
Initially trained in New Zealand by Daniel Miller, I’m Thunderstruck was purchased by bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo for clients OTI Racing after his 1000m trial win at Te Aroha two years ago.