Anthony Cummings is unlikely to run Fontelina in the George Ryder Stakes but he rates his chances of figuring in two other Group One races at Rosehill on Saturday.
Cummings has been toying with a George Ryder start for Fontelina since the sprinter’s luckless William Reid Stakes placing in Melbourne last Friday night.
But the trainer said common sense told him Fontelina’s first Sydney appearance for the season should be saved for the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes in two weeks.
“Going to the George Ryder is a bit of punt with the back-up and the travelling,” Cummings said.
“He’s made it a possibility because he’s pulled up so well but just the same I’m better off to wait.”
Cummings will rely on Thunder Fantasy and Surge Ahead in the $500,000 Rosehill Guineas and Villa Verde in the $400,000 Galaxy as his Group One chances.
Thunder Fantasy and Surge Ahead are coming off Melbourne campaigns that Cummings expects to serve them well in the Guineas.
“Both have had a run over a mile-and-a-quarter and with the prospect of a rain-affected track, I think that fitness-wise that will really count for a lot,” Cummings said.
Thunder Fantasy, a Damien Oliver ride, returned to racing with a Group Two win at Caulfield and an Australian Guineas placing.
He settled off the tempo when at the back of the field in the Australian Cup but Cummings is confident the colt is in sound order after galloping with Surge Ahead on Tuesday morning.
One of the last pair out on the Randwick course proper, Thunder Fantasy and Alister Clark placegetter Surge Ahead were sent over 1600m but weren’t asked to get serious about their work until the 600m.
Going to the line together, they ran 23.12secs for the last 400m and 11.88secs for the final furlong.
Villa Verde worked solo with James McDonald in the saddle, covering 800m in 53.72secs as she dashed home in 11.6secs.
The filly will be one of the favourites for the Galaxy after winning first-up for Cummings in the Challenge Stakes.
“She has been very bright and well since then,” Cummings said. “And she has been very keen going about her work without being silly.”