Horses To Follow » Lightning Thunder

Lightning Thunder

Lightning Thunder may be the filly to take out of Sunday’s 1000 Guineas. The race was run at a really sedate pace, thereby favouring those who raced handily, and Olly Stevens’ filly was the only filly who didn’t race prominently who was able to get involved in the finish. Interestingly, of the seven fillies who filled the first seven places, six of them occupied six of the first seven places in the field from flagfall, and two of those six were 100/1 shot Manderley and 33/1 shot Majeyda, who raced in first and second places through the early stages of the race. Lightning Thunder, who raced in 11th place passing the four-furlong pole, was the only one who got into the race from further back.

And it wasn’t that she just got into the race. She almost won it. She travelled well just behind mid-division for Harry Bentley, and she picked up nicely at the two-furlong pole when her rider moved her to the near side and gave her a squeeze. The difficulty was that she was trying to make ground on the leaders into a quickened pace. She did move a little to her left late on, and Bentley had to straighten her up for a stride or two, but the manner in which she stuck her neck out and battled all the way to the line was hugely admirable. She closed on the winner Miss France through the final 100 yards and got to within a neck of her as they crossed the winning line, with a half-length back to Ihtimal in third place.

This is the second time that Lightning Thunder has finished second to Miss France. On the previous occasion on which they met, in the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket last September, it was Lightning Thunder who went for home first before Miss France got out after her and beat her by a head. On that occasion, it may have been that Lightning Thunder was in front too early. On this occasion, she just couldn’t get there. There is a sense that Miss France was idling a little in front, and that Andre Fabre’s filly had more left to give. She is obviously a hugely talented filly, but Lightning Thunder may not be that far behind her.

The Dutch Art filly is also top class. She has only run one poor race in her life, in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket last October, but she scoped poorly after that race and she was showing signs of coming into season, so you can easily forgive her that. She has three siblings who won over middle distances, but all three are by Auction House, who is more of a stamina influence than Dutch Art, and Lightning Thunder shows so much pace that it may be that she goes down the Irish Guineas/Coronation Stakes route now rather than the Oaks/Ribblesdale Stakes/Irish Oaks route. A re-match with Miss France at The Curragh or at Royal Ascot would be fascinating, and Lightning Thunder may be the value in that instance against the French filly.

4th May 2014