Like several other trainers, Anthony Cummings counts the Rosehill Guineas as the one that got away.
He believes he can put that right with three runners in Saturday’s ATC Australian Derby at Randwick.
Shamus Award and Puccini took each other on up front at Rosehill, ruining their own chances and setting the race up for horses from behind.
Thunder Fantasy was one of those but, good as his run was, it was not good enough to beat Criterion who got a comfortable run on the inside and powered to a 3-1/2 length win.
That earned him favouritism for Saturday’s $2 million Classic over 2400m with Thunder Fantasy on the second line of betting alongside Puccini whose weakening run at Rosehill was inconclusive for trainer Peter McKay.
Cummings said he could not fault the ride of Damien Oliver on Thunder Fantasy, but wished he had chosen a different option.
“Thunder Fantasy covered a bit of ground coming into the straight and basically gave the winning run to the winner,” Cummings said.
“Watching the race I wouldn’t argue with what Ollie 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.”
Surge Ahead finished midfield in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) while Cummings’ other runner Best Case goes to the race on a seven-day back-up from his third in the Tulloch Stakes over the same distance.
Although they are among the outsiders, Cummings, who won the 2012 Victoria Derby with $41 chance Fiveandahalfstar, is upbeat about the pair over the distance.
“Surge Ahead got knocked off balance at the top of the straight at Rosehill and found it hard to regather,” Cummings said.
“He lost momentum and lost his field position 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.
“Best Case has great form. He was a really good third the other day whereas the winner had clear running all the way through.”
Tulloch Stakes winner Gallatin and runner-up Singing Flame are also among the 18-strong Derby field but markets firmly favour the Rosehill Guineas as the form race.