By John Boyce
The victory of Night Of Thunder (Ire)'s 3-year-old daughter No Limit Credit (Ger) in the G3 Schwarzgold Rennen propelled her young sire clear of all second-season sires since pattern racing began in 1970. His nine stakes winners by mid-May of his second season-taking into account Northern Hemisphere runners only; he has had two first-crop stakes winners in Australia–hasn't ever been matched before and although a good start doesn't necessarily mean we have a top-class stallion on our hands, you just have to look at the quality of stallions contained on the accompanying table to marvel at Night Of Thunder's early achievements.
The son of Dubawi had set a strong pace from the outset last year, leading his contemporaries by number of stakes winners, percentage of stakes winners to runners and by percentage of winners to runners. Moreover, due to the current pandemic, he hasn't been granted a normal range of opportunities so far this season. His 15.3% stakes winners to runners is already pushing close to the 15.6% recorded by Frankel for his 20 stakes winners after a full two seasons' worth of opportunities. It is an excellent output given that the dams of his runners normally produce 8.3% through their lifetime.
His challenge now–made harder by the shortened season–is to find another 12 stakes winners (hopefully with one or two stars among them) to stay ahead of the chasing pack. But even if he doesn't, Night Of Thunder has already served notice that he has what it takes to be a sire of note.