The ultimate test of trust between horse and rider ended with I’s Thunderstruck landing Group 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield.
I’m Thunderstruck and jockey Jye McNeil survived several hair-raising moments during the race as they ran close between Elephant and Dice Roll.
Circumstances left I am Thunderstruck and McNeil in the racer’s most dangerous position inside another runner’s heels.
A small shift from both sides would have meant disaster for horse and rider, let alone ending their winning hopes.
Trust was the couple’s most important asset in Toorak Handicap.
I’m Thunderstruck trusted McNeil to guide him through the tight patches, while McNeil trusted that his mount would do the right thing when asked.
I AM THUNDERSTRUCK IS A GROUP 1 WINNER! ⚡
– Racing.com (@Racing) October 9, 2021
“A couple of different riders were out there to target him, which I suspect they are entitled to at some point,” McNeil said.
“I thought it was a really brave effort as he handled himself, even at the top of the stretch we had to get a little physical to find clear space.”
The bravery of the gelding left that I am Thunderstruck ready to strike when there was a clear run of 250m.
I carry only 52 kg and I am Thunderstruck ($ 3.20 fav) sprint to triple Group 1 winner Tofane ($ 11) in the last 100m to chop his maiden winner at the highest level.
Victory atoned for I am Thunderstruck’s unlucky third in Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
I’m Thunderstruck drives past Tofane to write his first Group 1 victory. Image: Racing Photos via Getty Images
Toorak Handicap threatened to come out the same way for connections, but I Thunderstruck overcame the difficulty.
“He didn’t get a chance to relax and travel,” said Michael Kent Jr., who coaches I’m Thunderstruck in partnership with Mick Price.
“They played jockeys. They tried to keep the favorite inside, and for him to keep fighting, for a young inexperienced horse, it was a massive effort. ”
I’m Thunderstruck first joined Price and Kent Jr’s stable late last year after syndicator OTI Racing bought the son of Shocking in New Zealand.
The Toorak Handicap prize added $ 600,000 to I’m Thunderstruck’s prize money.
I’m Thunderstruck will run about $ 7.5 million in its next excursion to the Golden Eagle at Rosehill on October 30th.
TAB promoted I’m Thunderstruck to $ 4 favoritism in Golden Eagle betting.