Having more than one runner in a race often means trainers have to be at their diplomatic best when it comes to discussing their prospects with different owners.
John Sargent has no such worries with Thunder Lady and Gust Of Wind in Saturday’s Australian Oaks with Hong Kong businessman Oliver Wong the only person he has to consider.
“Oliver Wong owns them both and is thrilled to have them in the race and just wants one of them to win,” Sargent said.
“Thunder Lady is coming right at the right time while Gust Of Wind is a typical New Zealand type of staying filly who has needed time.”
Sargent says Thunder Lady obviously has the credentials on the board while Gust Of Wind is an emerging stayer.
Thunder Lady finished second to Set Square in the VRC Oaks in the spring and warmed up for the Australian Oaks with a third in the Vinery Stud Stakes won by Fenway from First Seal.
Her claims have been strengthened by the non-appearance of Set Square, Fenway and First Seal.
Set Square has returned home to Victoria after a below-par performance in the Vinery while Fenway has succumbed to lameness and First Seal runs in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
Gust Of Wind was an eye-catching fourth in last Monday’s Adrian Knox Stakes won by Candelara.
Both 2000m events are traditional lead-up races to the Oaks over 2400m with Royal Descent in 2013 the most recent winner of the Adrian Knox/Oaks double.
It has been seven years since Heavenly Glow claimed the Vinery Stud Stakes and the Oaks.
Zac Purton, who rode Gust Of Wind last start, and Tye Angland who was on Thunder Lady, have switched mounts for the Oaks.
“It was the owner’s decision to swap the riders,” Sargent said.
The trainer would probably prefer to swap the barrier with Thunder Lady in 11 and Gust Of Wind to jump from four.
“Thunder Lady has drawn a bit wide while Gust Of Wind gets back anyway,” he said.
The Chris Waller-trained Winx, fifth in the Vinery, is the TAB’s $4 favourite ahead of Thunder Lady at $5 while Gust Of Wind is a $16 chance.
Sargent thinks the market has his two fillies in the right order.
“Thunder Lady has the form on the board,” he said.
“But Gust Of Wind is finally getting up to a distance which suits her.”
Article from justhorseracing.com.au