I’m Thunderstruck has shown the determination of a more experienced horse to claim his maiden Group 1 victory.
After a luckless run at his first Group 1 outing in the Sir Rupert Clarkes (1400m) last month, I’m Thunderstruck rebounded with a tough victory in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) on Saturday.
Under a gutsy ride by Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jye Mcneil, I’m Thunderstruck, the $3.20 favourite, scored a three-quarter length win from Tofane ($11) with Superstorm ($9.50) the same margin off third.
I’m Thunderstruck was cramped for room in the early stages of Saturday’s race then nearing the hometurn McNeil asked the son of Shocking to be brave and take a narrow opening.
“I’m pumped,” McNeil said.
“He really had to earn it today. A couple of different riders were out there to target him, which I suppose they’re entitled to at some stage.
“But I thought it was a really brave effort the way he handled himself. Even at the top of the straight we had to get a little bit physical to find clear space and then Tofane challenged late.
“He was super tough.”
Trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr., I’m Thunderstruck will now head to Sydney for the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on October 30.
When I’m Thunderstruck first entered the stable, Kent Jr did not think I’m Thunderstruck would be reaching the heights of being a Group 1 winner at his eighth race start.
“He was a big flashy kind of horse and I never thought it would come this soon with him,” Kent Jr said.
“It’s very exciting. Hopefully he pulls up well. We blended prep two and prep three together and now we’ve got three weeks until the Golden Eagle.
Kent Jr said it was a tough race to watch with the “jockeying” for positions during the race.
“He didn’t get a moment’s rest,” Kent Jr said.
“He didn’t get a chance to relax and travel. They were playing jockeys. They were trying to keep the favourite in, and for him to keep fighting, for a young inexperienced horse, it was a massive effort.”