The Black Book: The ultimate gear change does the trick for Diamond Thunder

5 min read

by Anthony Manton

The Black Book will identify race performances around Australia particularly worth following in the future. These may be high profile runners at trials and smaller tracks, or eye-catching performances, we'll aim to give you a horse to add to your pedigree or performance black book for the future.

A gelding operation for the Mark Newnham trained Diamond Thunder (Dawn Approach {Ire}) appears to have done the trick after the horse resumed a dominant winner of his maiden at Hawkesbury on Tuesday.

Diamond Thunder was given only one run in his first preparation by Newnham at Randwick on Boxing Day. He led for much of the race before being run down late by subsequent stakes-winner Pin Sec (Lonhro), finishing 4th only beaten 1.5 lengths, before being spelled and gelded during the break.

Newnham always knew Diamond Thunder had the ability and with the support of the owners the decision to geld the horse was going to be the key to see him fulfil his potential.

“He’s always had good ability, he just didn’t have the concentration required to express that ability but it was good to see him come here today, parade well and do everything right”.

“The owners were very understating with the decision to geld the horses as well, they are used to racing geldings and we knew we weren’t going to get the best out of him as a colt,” said Newnham.

Diamond Thunder began well showing good natural speed to hold his position on the rails sharing the lead to the turn before jockey Blake Shinn allowed Diamond Thunder to extend in the home straight for an effortless victory winning by nearly 2 lengths, quickly justifying the decision to geld the horse.

"We knew we weren’t going to get the best out of him as a colt." - Trainer Mark Newnham

“He needed to come here and put them away today. He paraded a lot better than what he did on debut. As a colt, he sweated-up and went to pieces in the yard and his coltish behaviour let him down. I’m very pleased with the way he’s come back and he is much more relaxed this time in”.

“It was a pretty easy watch which makes my job easy. He’s a horse with decent enough ability and hopefully he puts a few together now,” said Newnham.

Diamond Thunder ran the 1100 metres in 1.02.70. In comparison to the two earlier 1100 metre races it was significantly quicker adding merit to the win.

“He’s run good time, done it well and he’ll only improve so we’ve got a bit to work with,” said Newnham.

Trainer Mark Newnham

Blake Shinn was fortunate to pick-up the ride on Diamond Thunder as a late rider change and despite being inexperienced and raw Shinn was impressed with the performance.

“He’s quite raw but he’s got an engine and he’s got plenty of upside. He did his job nicely today and I can only see him improving and going forward to better things”.

“I loved the way he grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck in the early stages. They made us work the whole way, we had Shielded (Helmet) and Brazenpine (Brazen Beau) applying the pressure, he never really got a breather the whole race but he did it well within himself and when I asked him for an effort although a little bit wayward he quickened nicely and won with a fair bit in hand,” said Shinn.

"He’s got an engine and he’s got plenty of upside." - Jockey Blake Shinn

Diamond Thunder was a $135,000 purchase as a yearling at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale for Macau-based client of Newnham Mr KK Ng. Newnham has had previous success for Mr Ng with stakes-winner Diamond Tathagata (Hinchinbrook) winning the 2017 Group 2 Skyline Stakes as a 2-year-old.

Diamond Thunder is the first foal to race from dam Kwinana (Lonhro) a sister to multiple city-winner Cordoned (Lonhro), and a daughter of Unswerving (Commands), a half-sister to stakes-winner Firm (Night Shift {USA}).

Newnham suggested Diamond Thunder may even find himself in Queensland during the winter carnival for a crack at black-type races.

“I’ve had a look at the calendar and Queensland is definitely an option, he’s got stakes-level ability,” said Newnham.

The most likely options for Diamond Thunder should Newnham make the trip to Queensland for the winter are the $125,000 Listed Dalrello Stakes 1000 metres at Eagle Farm on April 27 or the $140,000 Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial 1200 metres at the Gold Coast on May 4.

Earlier this month Newnham unearthed another promising 2-year-old in Deep Sea (Deep Field), winning on debut at the Kensington track and is now in a very fortunate position to have two emerging geldings in his stable.

Newnham has enjoyed a hugely successful Sydney autumn carnival largely on the back of top 3-year-old filly Nakeeta Jane (So You Think {NZ}) winning the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes and the Group 1 Surround Stakes, as well stakes success with Final Award (Smart Missile) taking out the Listed Canberra Guineas.