Saturday 24 February 2018

Moore merrier after five-timer

Night Of Thunder and James Doyle return after their victory in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury
Night Of Thunder and James Doyle return after their victory in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury Newsdesk Newsdesk

Night Of Thunder landed his first success since last year's 2000 Guineas with a hard-fought triumph in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

The Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old held the late thrust of his stablemate Toormore to lift the Group One over the straight mile in the hands of James Doyle for the colt's new owners, Godolphin.

But although the feature eluded him, Ryan Moore enjoyed a day to remember when Birchwood showed a fine turn of foot to kick-start a fabulous 1,962-1 five-timer the Berkshire track for the rider.

"I was worried when I saw the opposition because it looked a warm race," said trainer Richard Fahey, "but Ryan liked him. He thought he'd want seven furlongs, but I don't think he'll be going to Royal Ascot.

He added with a wink: "I was surprised he was such a big price - not that I backed him or anything!"

Moore followed up with wins on Telescope (8-13) in the Al Rayyan Stakes and Adaay (4-1) in the Toronado Carnarvon Stakes, and there was no stopping the former champion by the time he got to Time Test in the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup.

Moore's only other mount, Integral in the Lockinge Stakes, finished fourth behind Night Of Thunder as the 11-4 joint-favourite got the verdict by a neck from Toormore and Richard Hughes, with Arod just three-quarters of a length away in third.

"I'm delighted," said Hannon. "Toormore has run a super race and this horse (Night Of Thunder) looked to me like he was going to win very well and got tired, as he's had a long time off the track. I couldn't be more pleased.

"I think both of them will improve. Definitely, Toormore will. He was a bit heavy and doesn't do too much at home.

"Night Of Thunder shows us a bit more at home and he too will improve for it. He's nothing to prove now. He's won the Guineas and the Lockinge. He's obviously a very good horse and will make a very good stallion.

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