English 2000 Guineas winner Night of Thunder (Dubawi) confirmed the quality of the 2014 European 3YO crop on his seasonal debut at the weekend when defeating stablemate Toormore (Arakan) in the Gr.1 Lockinge Stakes over a mile at Newbury racecourse in England.
Among the best of his classic generation, Night Of Thunder had beaten European Horse Of The year Kingman (Invincible Spirit) and Champion Irish 3YO Australia (Galileo) in a vintage renewal of the 2000 Guineas last year.
However he had played ‘second fiddle’ to fellow 3YO and triple Gr.1 winner Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit), in both the Gr.1 Prix Du Moulin de Longchamp in Paris and the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in England, where Toormore had finished in third position.
With Charm Spirit, Kingman and Australia all retired to stud at the end of their 3YO season, this year’s leading European mile races are again open to Night Of Thunder and Toormore, with trainer Richard Hannon nominating the Gr.1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot next month as their immediate target.
Hannon won last year’s Gr.1 Queen Anne Stakes with Toronado (High Chaparral) who subsequently finished runnerup to Charm Spirit in the Gr.1 Prix Du Moulin de Longchamp.
"Night Of Thunder and Toormore have earned the chance to have a crack at Solow and Able Friend in the Queen Anne”.
“Ideally, I would like to keep them apart, but they will both be considered for Gr.1 races like the Sussex Stakes, the Prix Jacques le Marois and the Prix Du Moulin de Longchamp," commented Hannon.