Night can Thunder to success in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
Night Of Thunder holds outstanding claims of landing back-to-back successes fir the Hannon yard in today’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot (3.30).
Olympic Glory ran of the impressive winner of last year’s renewal for Richard Hannon senior, who has since handed over the reins to his son of the same name.
In Night Of Thunder, Richard Hannon junior has a colt who is proven at Group 1 level and will have no problems with the testing conditions at the Berkshire venue.
After being readily brushed aside and beaten 4 1/2 lengths by the mighty Kingman on seasonal reappearance in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, Night Of Thunder showed the benefit of the run when turning the tables on John Gosden’s star colt in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The son of Dubawi showed a devastating turn of foot to beat Kingman by 1/2 a length, despite veering badly across the track in the final furlong and forfeiting a huge amount of ground.
Night Of Thunder then got beat two lenths by Kingman in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, but lost little in defeat and was not helped by being forced to make the pace in muddling run affair.
The three-year-old then seemed to find the step up to 1m 2f against him when well beaten in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, and showed that running to be all wrong when an unlucky in-running third to Charm Spirit in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp last month.
Night Of Thunder endured a nightmare passage after dwelling slightly at the start, but flew home once seeing daylight to be beaten just 1/2 a length.
Given how the race panned out, I fully expect him to turn the tables with the winner this afternoon, and the form of his 2,000 Guineas win makes Night Of Thunder the one they all have to beat.
In what doesn’t look the strongest renewals, the Andrew Balding trained Tullius may prove the biggest danger to the selection.
The six-year-old is at his best when the mud is flying, as he showed when landing a Group 2 contest at Sandown on his second start this season.
Tullius backed that up with a solid second in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on quick ground, and was far from disgarced when fourth to Toronado in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Those runs make Tullius a big player, but whether he has the class to beat an on-song Night Of Thunder is debatable.