sport

Thunder strikes in Guineas

Night Of Thunder sprang a surprise in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket to give trainer Richard Hannon a first Classic in his rookie year.

Kieren Fallon had plenty of steering problems in the closing stages as the 40-1 chance veered over the track.

However, that did not stop the son of Dubawi getting up close home to win by half a length and reversing Greenham form with Kingman, the 6-4 favourite.

Australia was another head away in third.

Night Of Thunder's better-fancied stablemate, Toormore, faded after setting the pace on the near side.

Fallon said: "I thought he'd given it away, but he's a good horse and hopefully he can continue."

An emotional Hannon said: "We always thought a lot of him and he's done it well.

"He gets a mile, no problem, and he settled better today.

"He pulled a little bit in the Greenham and he's turned the form around with Kingman."

The field split into two groups, with Toormore moving to the stands' rail under Richard Hughes and Spanish raider Noozhoh Canarias leading the far-side numbers.

Kingman had a wide berth in the far group but looked like he would justify his high opinion, while on the near side Toormore was headed a furlong out, with Australia going on from the Hannon third string, Shifting Power.

Night Of Thunder began his run on the far side but drifted towards the near side, yet still took the spoils.

Six-times champion jockey Fallon was securing his fifth success in the 2000 Guineas.

Night Of Thunder now has the option of travelling to the Curragh to contest the Irish equivalent on May 24, for which he would need to be supplemented.

Hannon said: "We'll have to talk to Bruce Raymond (racing manager for owner Saeed Manana) but I'd imagine it will be either the Irish Guineas or the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot.

"Shifting Power ran great to finish fourth and could be a French Derby horse."

Kingman is also under consideration for the same two races. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for the colt's owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "He ran a great race. The field splitting was not ideal, but that's racing and we accept that.

"He has won his side of the field and we'll have bigger disappointments than finishing second in a Classic.

"The ground was fine and the winner's the winner, he won it fair and square.

"I imagine it will be the St James's Palace, although Ireland's not out of the question."

Aidan O'Brien was thrilled with the fast-finishing Australia, who was shortened in price at the head of the betting for the Investec Derby at Epsom.

The Ballydoyle handler said: "Joseph (O'Brien, jockey) was always going to follow the pace, and with Toormore on his side it made sense to stay where he was.

"The field split, but you have to be delighted with him.

"Obviously we'll talk to the boys but the Derby trip shouldn't be a problem.

"Obviously he was working like a Guineas horse. He has run well, but he should be able to step up for the Derby trip.

"He's still a baby."