Thunderbird is all go

Thunderbird One showed once again at Matamata today why Cambridge jockey Jason Waddell is prepared to put up with his bad habits.

Thunderbird One has given his connections, particularly trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman with plenty of headaches over his antics both on the racetrack and training track. He has a habit of refusing to go forward at times and instead spinning around towards his handler and digging his toes in.

“He can be a real handful at times, but he’s slowly getting better” said Forsman. “The problem is he rears and turns and just refuses to go further.”

That bad habit has already resulted in Thunderbird One being a late scratching and has caused him to have to trial to the satisfaction of stipendiary stewards before racing again.

Waddell was aboard when he was a late scratching and he has been prepared to stick with the horse, having seen his true ability on raceday when winning a maiden 1200 metres easily at Taupo.

“He’s got so much ability,” said Waddell. “He puts them away easily then he pricks his ears. That’s the sign of a good horse.”

Thunderbird One was originally trained at Woodville by Francis Finnegan, but each of his three starts has been from the Baker-Forsman stable.

Having passed a trial, when winning at Paeroa last month, Thunderbird One proved a class above his rivals in the Matamata Veterinary Services Ltd 1400, scoring by two and a half lengths. And just as he had done when winning second-up at Taupo, he did it easily.

“He’s going to be even better over 1600 metres,” said Forsman.