By Kelsey Riley
As the start of the flat season dawns, all eyes will be on Night Of Thunder (Ire). Can the champion first season sire maintain the dizzying momentum with which he rolled through 2019? Will the Guineas winner's first-crop train on as 3-year-olds, and will his second crop pick up the baton?
Reflecting back on Night Of Thunder's performance last year-which placed him among the best first-season sires in recent memory-a glaring trend is apparent among his progeny: all four of his pattern-race winners, and six of his nine stakes winners, are out of Danzig-line mares.
This shouldn't come as a total surprise given his sire Dubawi's propensity for success with Danzig-line mares, but it is noteworthy. Night Of Thunder's G2 Premio Dormello winner Night Colours (Ire) and his G3 Princess Margaret S. winner Under The Stars (Ire) are out of mares by Danzig son Green Desert and his son in turn, Invincible Spirit (Ire), while G3 Prix des Reservoirs victress Pocket Square (GB), Listed UAE 1000 Guineas winner Dubai Love (GB) and Listed Prix Yacowlef scorer Keep Busy (Ire) are respectively out of daughters of Danehill (Danzig) sons Dansili (GB), Dylan Thomas (Ire) and Danetime (Ire). Night Of Thunder's Australian Group 3 winner A Beautiful Night (Aus) is out of a daughter of the Danehill horse Gonski (Aus). His stakes-placed Sun Power (Fr) and Thunderspeed (Fr) are out of daughters of Green Desert's son Cape Cross (Ire), while Night Of Thunder's other first-crop stakes horse in Australia, River Night (Aus), is out of a mare by Danehill son Exceed and Excel (Aus). Eighteen of Night Of Thunder's 35 winners worldwide (51%) are out of Danzig-line mares.
Night Of Thunder has in fact followed in the footsteps of his sire Dubawi, who has worked very well with Danzig-line mares. His record with such mares reads 161 winners from 22 runners (73.2%), 32 black-type winners (14.5%) and 48 black-type horses (21.8%). Twenty of those (9.1%) are group winners, headed by eight Group 1 winners: Makfi (GB), Poet's Voice (GB), Akeed Mofeed (Ire), Lucky Nine (Ire), Quorto (Ire), Bateel (GB), Nezwaah (GB) and Kitesurf (GB). The Danzig-line broodmare sire that Dubawi has been most successful with is Green Desert, that cross having produced seven stakes winners.
Night Of Thunder has been supported heavily by Danzig-line mares in these early days, that line popping up the most frequently in his first crop.
But let's not forget that Dubawi has produced even more stakes winners (37) from Sadler's Wells-line mares. His most potent cross from that line is with daughters of Singspiel (Ire), a cross that has produced four Group 1 winners. The cross with Barathea mares has produced three Group 1 winners and with Galileo two Group 1 winners, including Night Of Thunder himself. Of course that precludes Night Of Thunder from being bred to Galileo mares himself, but it could provide further explanation to his early affinity with Danzig-line mares, as those types of mares have been wildly successful under Galileo as well.
Breeders have been enterprising in testing other Sadler's Wells lines with Night Of Thunder, and the early results are promising. Montjeu's Derby winner Authorized (Ire) is thus far the most shining example: the three named foals by Night Of Thunder out of his daughters are all winners. Daughters of Sadler's Wells's son Barathea (Ire) and Galileo's son Teofilo (Ire) (a 2×3 mating to Galileo) have two foals apiece by Night Of Thunder and each have a winner.
It is still very early days for Night Of Thunder, and other intriguing breeding patterns will soon emerge. In the meantime, we can look forward to seeing his 2- and 3-year-olds on the racecourses in the coming weeks and months as well as at the breeze-up sales; there are three catalogued for the Goffs UK Breeze Up Sale to begin with.