RoyalAscot: Lightning Thunder is set to strike

Lightning Thunder

Lightning Thunder

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Lightning Thunder has hit the bar twice in Classic company this term but she can enjoy her turn in the spotlight with victory in the Coronation Stakes, the feature event on day three of Royal Ascot.

Winner of two of her four starts as a juvenile, she turned in an excellent effort when beaten just a neck by Miss France in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. She made a late bid for glory that day but the finishing line came too soon for Olly Stevens’ charge, prompting connections to roll on to the Curragh where Lightning Thunder went for gold in the Irish equivalent.

However, the ground went against her and while she just about coped with the soft conditions in finishing second to Marvellous, she probably would have been much closer had the ground been on the quicker side which she will get in Berkshire.

Bunker was disappointing on his seasonal return but he remains a solid contender in the King Edward VII Stakes for Richard Hannon. He enjoyed an excellent juvenile career, finishing second to Berkshire in the Chesham at this meeting before going on to beat Karakontie in a Listed heat at Deauville on his final start last August. Bunker was duly reasonably well fancied on his return in the Dante at York last month, having been added to the Derby field. But the Hurricane Run colt looked all over a stayer as he lacked a vital change of gear, and probably race fitness, as he was beaten nearly four lengths into fourth by The Grey Gatsby, who has since gone on to land the French Derby.

Jockey Paul Hanagan, right, and trainer Richard Fahey

Paul Hanagan: Aiming to strike at Royal Ascot