05/03/2014 2:15PM

Night of Thunder wins 2000 Guineas


Night of Thunder, a 40-1 outsider ridden by Kieren Fallon, scored an upset win in Saturday’s $760,500 English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse despite drifting badly across the track in the final yards.

Night of Thunder finished a half-length in front of 3-2 favorite Kingman, who was beaten for the first time in his fourth start. Australia, the favorite for the English Derby at Epsom on June 7, finished third in the one-mile race, a head behind Kingman in the field of 14.

At the start, the field broke into two groups, with Night of Thunder and Kingman among six runners who raced on the outside rail. A group of eight horses, including Australia and top contender Toormore, raced on the inside rail, closest to the stands on the straightaway course.

Kingman led in the final furlong. Night of Thunder closed well, drifting so far to the left that he finished closer to Australia than Kingman. The winning time for the mile on good-to-firm turf was 1:36.61.

Night of Thunder, a colt by Dubawi, races for Saeed Manana and trainer Richard Hannon, the 38-year-old son of former trainer Richard Hannon Sr., who retired in late 2013. The younger Hannon was an assistant to his father until last year.

Hannon had three runners in the 2000 Guineas, including Toormore, who finished seventh.

The 2000 Guineas was the first classic of the British flat season.

Night of Thunder has won 3 of 4 starts. He was second to Kingman in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury Racecourse in England on April 12, his first start of 2014.

*In France, Prince Gibraltar won his first start of 2014 in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe for 3-year-olds at Saint-Cloud, a prep for the French Derby at Chantilly on June 1.

Prince Gibraltar won by two lengths over the Kentucky-bred Earnshaw in the race over 1 1/4 miles on turf. Prince Gibraltar was not urged in the final furlong by jockey Christophe Soumillon. Nolohay, the 6-5 favorite, finished third in the field of five.