“We can’t say anything other than very impressive.” Was the straight forward but telling answer from trainer Ahmad bin Harmash as he reflected on Walking Thunder’s nine-length victory in the UAE 2000 Guineas trial.
That success from a wide draw has made the Phonix Ladies Syndicate owned runner a hot favourite for this Thursday’s colt classic and everything seems to be on track for another big performance.
“Everything has been going to plan with him,” explained Harmash. “He has done his last serious piece of work and we were delighted with him. He should be in top condition for the Guineas.”
A noticeable and pleasing trend of the colt’s career path so far has been his increasing winning margins each time he has stepped up in class. That would suggest the thrice raced son of stallion Violence is still improving but to his trainer’s eye that has been a tricky element to measure.
“It’s been hard to tell if he keeps improving as we have never seen him under pressure.” Suggests Harmash. “He is a natural on the dirt and always been very mature for a young horse. Everything he does at home and the races is very professional; there is no doubt we have a special horse on our hands.”
He’ll have another chance to prove his connections’ high opinion of him at Meydan on Carnival Thursday when he’s likely to face a limited number of rivals in the UAE 2000 Guineas. That’s not to say he’ll have things all his own way with opponents likely to include impressive debut winner Moshaher and runner-up in the Al Bastakiya Trial, Estihdaaf, in addition, to a couple of smart turf performers. That said he is the highest rated in the field and there is growing confidence among those who know him best.
“Looks like it is going to be a small field so we are confident, as confident as you can be in this game.” Said Harmash “I would love to see him win that race ridden hands and heels only.”
Walking Thunder isn’t the only unbeaten colt in the stable belonging to the Phoenix Ladies. Golden Jaguar remained undefeated in two starts when switching to the turf at Meydan to win the Classic trial, following up on his win on the dirt at Jebel Ali. On both occasions, he has been a bit fractious in the gates to give away ground but has shown his class to go on a win with a bit to spare. It would appear his antics have been in keeping with his attitude away from the racecourse, but his performances on it have left his trainer in no doubt of the colt’s talent.
“He’s a character!” said Harmash. “We have worked a lot with him in the starting gates with good help from ERA’s starter Shane Ryan. He went up once in the gates last time, but luckily he didn’t miss the break as he did in his first start. With that said he was drawn 15 and had the worst travel around out of all of them. That makes his win a respectable one, going around horses with ratings around 100 and with more experience than him.”
Having taken the Classic Trial and recorded a victory on both surfaces the progeny of Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom could have several options regarding his futures targets but Harmash confirms “We will keep him on the turf and probably aim for the Meydan Classic itself.”
Don’t forget if you’d like to be involved in Phoenix Ladies 2, our new syndicate with new horses get in touch with Pamela Cordina via firstname.lastname@example.org.