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Night Of Thunder to step up in trip in Eclipse Stakes at Sandown

Updated: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 18:31 | Comments

Night Of Thunder has yet to race beyond a mile
Night Of Thunder has yet to race beyond a mile

Night Of Thunder has been given the go-ahead for Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown after impressing trainer Richard Hannon with his well-being.

It will be the Saeed Manana-owned colt's first attempt over a mile and a quarter after his three battles with Kingman over shorter distances.

After a heavy defeat in the Greenham Stakes, Night Of Thunder turned the tables at the perfect moment when galloping to a 40-1 success in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

He performed very well in their rematch in the St James's Palaces Stakes at Royal Ascot but was ultimately beaten by two and a quarter lengths.

"Night of Thunder definitely runs at Sandown," the trainer told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.

"Kingman is very good and put us firmly in our place at Ascot, so rather than take him on again we are going up in trip.

"Night of Thunder ran all the way to the line at Ascot and I walked off the stand convinced that it would be worth trying him over further, and when Hughesie (Richard Hughes, jockey) got off he was of the same opinion, as was Bruce Raymond, Saeed's racing manager, so we are giving it a go."

Roger Varian was forced to make a late decision to scratch Kingston Hill from a rematch with Australia in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Varian had been concerned about risking him on quick ground at the Curragh and pulled him out after a walk of the course on the morning of the race.

The Epsom runner-up and Group One-winning juvenile has a number of entries in races like the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and the Juddmonte International at York.

Kingston Hill has also been confirmed for the Eclipse, according to Varian, but plans are fluid.

"I don't know what we're going to do yet," said the Newmarket handler.

"He has been left in there (Eclipse) just to keep our options open."

Night Of Thunder and Kingston Hill are two of five three-year-olds left in among the remaining 12 possibles.

Last season's Dewhurst winner War Command, Godolphin's True Story and Mark Johnston's Somewhat make up the quintet.

Along with War Command, Aidan O'Brien has left in Queen Anne Stakes runner-up Verrazano.

Adding to the Irish challenge is Jim Bolger's Trading Leather, winner of last year's Irish Derby.

John Gosden's The Fugue, hugely impressive winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes but last in the Eclipse last year, is the only remaining filly in the field.

Michael Stoute may run Hillstar, runner-up to Telescope at Royal Ascot, while Mukhadram could again line up after finishing third to Al Kazeem 12 months ago.

Andrew Balding's Tullius and the Gay Kelleway-trained Zambucca are also in the mix.

Dee Stakes third Somewhat was last seen finishing down the field in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot and is likely to help ensure there is pace in the race for True Story.

Speaking at Pontefract, Johnston's son Charlie said: "He's very well and actually ran better than his position would suggest at Ascot (behind Cannock Chase).

"He'll be there as a pacemaker but he'll be there to run his race as well. I think that type of role will suit him fine. We know he stays a mile and a half well.

"The ground will hopefully be quick and he'll do his job for them and hopefully he might pick up some prize money."

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