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Series stars to stud: Night of Thunder

25 Nov 2015

In our latest edition of Series stars to stud, we profile the career of 2014 QIPCO 2000 Guineas and this year's Al Shaqab Lockinge hero, Night of Thunder.

A first British Classic attempt proved to be a first British Classic winner for trainer Richard Hannon.

In our latest edition of Series stars to stud, we profile the career of 2014 QIPCO 2000 Guineas hero, Night of Thunder.

As a two-year-old, the son of Dubawi showcased himself to be a juvenile of the highest order.

On debut at Goodwood – the home of so much success for trainers Hannon Snr and Jnr, as well as jockey Richard Hughes – Night of Thunder was ultra-impressive. With six lengths between him and his nearest rival at the finish line, connections were brimming with excitement at his potential – and rightly so.

His final start of his two-year-old campaign came at Doncaster at Listed level. Town Moor was not left disappointed.

Treated to a special performance, the Hughes-ridden star claimed a cosy three-length victory to earn respectable quotes for the following season’s Classics.

However, the bubble burst on his seasonal reappearance as a three-year-old.

In the Greenham Stakes at Newbury – a race that Frankel, Olympic Glory and Danehill Dancer have all previously won – Night of Thunder bumped into another future QIPCO British Champions Series superstar in Kingman.

The John Gosden-trained son of Invincible Spirit produced a performance of the highest order to defeat the Herridge Stables-based hero by a comfortable margin.

Despite the defeat, Night of Thunder would still head to Newmarket for a tilt at the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. It would turn out to be a brave, but ultimately successful, decision.

At odds of 40/1, the Kieren Fallon-ridden colt swooped late to deny his nemesis by the narrowest of margins at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course.

The 2014 British Classic turned out to be one of the most successful races of the modern era, with 13 Group 1 contests won by the competitors that featured in the race following the Classic.

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas triumph would turn out to be his last until he returned in 2015.

Kingman gained revenge in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Night of Thunder then flopped in the Coral-Eclipse – appearing not to stay the longer distance.

A detour to France ended in a respectable third-place finish behind Charm Spirit in the Prix du Moulin, before coming agonisingly close to QIPCO British Champions Day victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, only to finish behind the Moulin champion – again.

At four, his career would get back on track while sporting new silks.

Now wearing the famous royal blue colours of Godolphin, and now under the guide of James Doyle, Night of Thunder turned up at Newbury bidding to be crowned the latest Hannon-trained champion of the Lockinge Stakes.

Previous winners from the family’s stable included Paco Boy, Canford Cliffs and Olympic Glory. Night of Thunder would become the next victor on that roll of honour.

Sent to the lead with a couple of furlongs to go, he valiantly dug in deep to hold on to more Group 1 glory from stable mate, Toormore – who finished a neck behind in second.

The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes victory would prove to be his last.

Twice more he would run and twice he would bump into a superstar, thanks to the efforts of subsequent QIPCO British Champions Day star, Solow.

His career ended in August earlier this year, when injury forced the Series star to retire.

Now joining the superb roster of stallions at Darley, we await his sons and daughters to see whether they can shine at the top level as of 2019.