Night Of Thunder lands his first G1 winner

Kukeracha gives his sire a classic in the G1 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm

Night Of Thunder sired his first G1 winner thanks to a determined victory by three-year-old Kukeracha in the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on Saturday, 29 May.

Already established as an elite stallion thanks to an initial crop that earned him the title of the best first-season stallion in Britain and Ireland since the inception of pattern racing, Night Of Thunder has now made a profound statement with a member of his sole Australian crop.

Kukeracha had won only twice prior to his Derby success, but had indicated he was waiting for the Classic trip to produce his best.

Under the guidance of trainer Chris Waller and jockey James McDonald, he achieved that goal, scoring narrowly from Senor Toba and Explosive Jack, the third home having already won three Classics, including the prestigious Australian Turf Club Derby.

McDonald gave Kukeracha every chance, jumping cleanly and then allowing the three-year-old to settle comfortable in midfield on the fence. The pair edged forward from the 600m and McDonald seized his opportunity when a run appeared at the 200m and Kukeracha responded, joining the leaders, edging clear and then holding off Senor Toba.

Kukeracha was bred by Dr C R Phillips and offered by Waikato Stud at the 2018 Karaka Yearling Sale in New Zealand where he was secured for NZ$130,000 by prominent agent Guy Mulcaster. He is one of seven foals to race, and one of five winners, from the A P Indy mare Portrait Of A Lady, a winner at the second of her only two starts in the US. Her female family traces to the good producer Balidaress who had the UK G1 winners Desirable and Park Appeal.

Kukeracha is Night Of Thunder's 21st Stakes winner and also his fourth in Australia, having also sired leading money earner and three-time Stakes winner Cherry Tortoni. He has enjoyed further success this season with the hugely exciting Suesa, a winner of the G3 Prix Texanita earlier this month, who is now a leading contender for the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Night Of Thunder stood the most recent northern hemisphere season at Kildangan Stud, Ireland at a fee of €75,000 1 Oct, SLF.