Thundering Blue in top shape for Grade 1 bid in International
Pattison Canadian International Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m4f | 3yo+ | turf | ATR/RUK
David Menuisier couldn’t be happier with his stable star Thundering Blue as the popular five-year-old bids for a first Grade 1 success (10.41pm) on Saturday.
After finishing a career-best third to Roaring Lion and Poet’s Word in the Juddmonte International at York in August, Thundering Blue travelled to Sweden and landed a Group 3 comfortably under Fran Berry.
That was the first time Thundering Blue had gone abroad and it acted as an important learning curve for this trip to Canada.
“Everything is grand,” Menuisier said. “The track and ground here are lovely, and hopefully he has a favourite’s chance.
“Stall two is meant to be a good draw. It’s a long straight, and gives him plenty of time to make good headway. He breezed down the straight this morning on the bridle and clocked a decent time. He’s had a long campaign but is giving all the right signals.”
Thundering Blue’s improvement this year has been nothing short of a revelation. He began with an official rating of 93 and is now 26lb higher.
“He's thrived,” Menuisier said. “He always runs his heart out. He’s happy and he's confident. He feels he can take on anything. That’s a recipe for success.”
Thundering Blue, who will remain in training next year, faces ten rivals, including the David Simcock-trained Desert Encounter.
Roger Varian is also hoping to plunder some Canadian dollars with Sheikha Reika in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes over 1m2f.
“She shipped in last Saturday and has acclimatised well over the week,” Varian said. “She's always worked like a nice filly and I was delighted she went some way to realising her potential in the John Musker, relishing the step up in trip on quick ground.
“This is another steep rise in class, but conditions will suit and she looks right in the thick of things on the figures.”
Mark Johnston’s Nyaleti is one of eight runners for the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland.
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