Compensation Awaits For Night Of Thunder
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes
This year’s QEII Stakes promises to be a vintage renewal, thanks to a line-up which includes Night Of Thunder (5/2), Charm Spirit (11/4) and Integral (11/2).
Night Of Thunder & Charm Spirit
Having won a couple of soft ground races as a juvenile, Saturday’s mud bath will not hold any fears for Richard Hannon’s 2,000 Guineas winner, Night Of Thunder, who comes here in fine form having been beaten just 1/2l by the French colt, Charm Spirit, in a Group 1 on Arc weekend (1m, good).
The duo will go head-to-head again on Saturday, but the overall feeling is that…
Night Of Thunder would have won in France had his run from the rear started a touch earlier, and compensation could await at Ascot.
It’s unlikely connections will leave it as late this time around, and the expected strong gallop on Saturday could play to his strengths.
Meanwhile, Sir Michael Stoute’s Integral is another who heads to Ascot in top form having won her second Group 1 of the season at Newmarket a few weeks ago (good), leading from the front. This 4yo filly battled well to hold off Miss France on that occasion, and having won her prior Group 1 on soft ground in July, she could prove a big threat if allowed too much rope in front.
Integral also hails from the right end of the market based on past trends…
Of the last 10 QEII Stakes winners…
10 returned 6/1 or shorter
10 had a maximum of 10 career runs
9 were 3 or 5yo’s – 4yo’s were only 1-23
9 were officially rated 115 or higher
9 won during their last three runs
9 had a rest period of 26 days or more
6 arrived via Goodwood
A O’Brien won it three times, S Bin Suroor twice
Of the above clues, it’s worth noting the good record of 5yo’s, which could bode well for David O’Meara’s Custom Cat (10/1) who has shown considerable improvement in winning his last four races.
Two Group 3 wins, including on soft ground, were topped last month as Custom Cat took a Group 2 at Newmarket (1m, good) where Tullius (10/1) was 4l back in fourth. Custom Cat made every post a winning one that day in beating Captain Cat (16/1) over 2l, and with O’Meara having already tasted Group 1 success this season, his gelding could represent value odds.
Elsewhere, Top Notch Tonto (10/1) was beaten over 3l into second in this race 12 months ago, but was in much better form leading into the race than now, while Toormore (12/1) – despite beaten only 1l in a Turkish Group 2 last time – appears to have gone backwards since a Group 3 win in April.
A strong renewal, though Integral will need to be good if overcoming the poor record of 4yo’s in the race, which could give an advantage to the 3yo, Night Of Thunder, who is fancied to reverse form with Charm Spirit following their inconclusive clash in France last month.