Menuisier heartbroken at loss of Thundering Blue

David Menuisier has paid tribute to “horse of a lifetime” Thundering Blue after the popular grey suffered a fatal injury at Goodwood.

The seven-year-old was pulled up sharply by Jamie Spencer with around two furlongs to run in the tote Foundation Stakes and was taken for X-Rays.

Menuisier later confirmed the son of Exchange Rate could not be saved.

He tweeted: “I can’t really describe how painful it is to have to report the loss of our beloved Thundering Blue. He lived his life like a warrior and fought his last battle bravely too.

“He will be remembered as the horse of a lifetime and a great friend. We LOVE you forever.”

Thundering Blue won six of his 29 races, including the Group Two York Stakes and Group Three Stockholm Cup, was twice placed in Group One company and won over £460,000 in prize money.

Anna Nerium won the 10-furlong event for trainer Richard Hannon and jockey Sean Levey.

Dropped out early by Levey, she was one of five in a line with a furlong to run as the Godolphin pair of High End and Mythical Magic took on Desert Icon and Oriental Mystique.

Anna Nerium came widest and fastest of all, going on to win at 10-1 – by a length, with High End in second.

Levey told Racing TV: “There was never a doubt about the trip in the end.

“I’m delighted for Mrs McCreery (owner), who has been absolutely brilliant to me ever since I started with the Hannons. It’s nice to win a big race every year with horses like Billesdon Brook, too.

“Although she’s won in the height of summer before, it’s never been her type of ground. Coming here with the rain today, I was actually a little bit confident that she’d run a big race.

“I’m of the belief that if you have a keen horse stepping up in trip, there’s every reason to drop out the back, but you still have to run the same distance. She’s laid back, though, so it was straightforward in that regard.”

Levey is looking forward to riding Happy Romance in the Cheveley Park Stakes on Saturday – although he fears soft ground.

“She’s well worth a crack at a Group One, but I’d fear the rain – realistically I don’t think she’d like soft ground,” he said.

“It has been on the easy side the last twice – but stepping up to that class, you want everything in your favour, and I think that would be quick ground.

“She hasn’t missed many dances this year, but she’s only been beaten twice. She’s got a great mentality and never gives absolutely everything, which is giving her longevity.”

Menuisier eyes late present from Thundering Blue

David Menuisier is relying on Thundering Blue to give him the perfect late birthday present on what could be his swansong in the tote Foundation Stakes at Goodwood.

The globetrotting seven-year-old may bring the curtain down on his glittering career, depending on how he performs, in Wednesday’s mile-and-a-quarter Listed prize – which will be his first start in Britain in more than a year.

Although Thundering Blue failed to beat a rival on his comeback in a Group Three at Deauville in August, Menuisier – who turned 40 earlier this month –  is confident plenty of his old ability remains intact.

He said: “Thundering Blue has been training well, and we’ve been happy with him.  I won’t be anxious, because I just want the horse to go and enjoy himself.

“He ran well on his last visit behind Elarqam there last year over the same trip. I can’t see any negatives.

Ryan Moore believes Thundering Blue had plenty to offer after his comeback (Francesca Altoft/PA Images)
Ryan Moore believes Thundering Blue had plenty to offer after his comeback (Francesca Altoft/PA Images)

“If he could run well and into a place it would make my day. It would be the best late birthday present. I would give anything for that to happen.

“He has to retire at some stage – hopefully it won’t be tomorrow, but it all depends on how the race pans out.”

Giving the Pulborough trainer further encouragement that Thundering Blue still has what it takes to be competitive were the words he received from three-time champion jockey Ryan Moore after his seasonal comeback.

He added: “Ryan Moore has ridden a few good ones in his time – and although that was his first time on him, he knows the horse, having finished behind him a few times.

“I popped the question and said ‘are we wasting our time’ and he said definitely not because the engine is intact and the wheels are still there.  He said not to give up on him, because he is still a nice horse.

“It was great a rider like him who said that – (so) as you know, the words are genuine.

Ralph Beckett is keeping his fingers crossed enough rain falls at the Sussex track to allow Air Pilot the chance to try and become the third horse to claim back-to-back victories in the race.

He said: “He needs a drop of rain, so we will see what happens. He went home during lockdown, and it took a while to get him back again.

“He worked really well the other day, and he seems in good shape. He has been a star for the yard.

“We are just hoping he gets some rain, so he can have another crack at the race.

Despite Air Pilot being in the twilight of his career at the age of 11, Beckett has not ruled out running him beyond the end of this season.

He added: “It all depends on how he runs – if he runs well we might go on with him next year.

“He is like part of the furniture and will be missed when he has gone.

“He just loves his work, and that is one of the reasons he is still in training, because he is much more happy doing that than being out in a field.”

Roger Charlton is confident Bullfinch, who will be bidding to complete a four-timer, will have no problems handling the undulations at the track on his return to turf.

He said: “Obviously this is both a step up in trip and class, but clearly he is a horse that is progressing. He is well-balanced, so Goodwood should be fine.

“He has only run on turf once before, and that was in unsuitable heavy ground at Newbury.

“I’m pleased with the way he is working – and he is rated similar to those he is running against – but he has to step forward again.”

The field is completed by Desert Icon (William Haggas), High End (Saeed bin Suroor), Mythical Magic (Charlie Appleby), Anna Nerium (Richard Hannon) and Oriental Mystique (David Simcock).