He made his racecourse debut in a maiden stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Beverley in July 1997; he stayed on in the final quarter of a mile, but was never near the leaders and finished sixth of 15, beaten 11¾ lengths. He raced five more times, without success, as a juvenile, including twice after being gelded that September.
After a 183-day break, Nuclear Debate was placed on his first two starts, in a median auction maiden stakes race at Thirsk and a 0-110 three-year-old handicap at Lingfield, both over 6 furlongs, before finally opening his account in a maiden stakes race at Thirsk, again over 6 furlongs, in May. Thereafter, he was targeted at major sprint handicaps, winning the Gosforth Park Cup, over 5 furlongs, at Newcastle off a handicap mark of 90 and, after unplaced efforts in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and the Great St. Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon, finishing second in the Portland Handicap, over 5½ furlongs, at Doncaster off a handicap mark of 97.
At the end of 1998, Lynda Ramsden relinquished her training licence for the first time – she would actually return to training in 2001, before doing so again in 2005 – and Nuclear Debate was transferred to Englishman John Hammond at Chemin des Aigles in Chantilly, France. Nuclear Debate was campaigned exclusively at Listed and Pattern level during his four-year-old season and recorded three wins from ten starts. In June 1999, he won the Prix Hampton at Maisons-Laffite, in August, he won the Prix du Cercle at Deauville and, in October, he recorded his first success at Group level when winning the Premio Omenoni at San Siro, Italy.
On his return to action, as a five-year-old, in 2000, Nuclear Debate made a ‘quiet’ reappearance, when only sixth of 11, beaten 3¾ lengths, in the Prix de Saint-Georges at Longchamp in May. However, just over a fortnight later, he reversed the form with three of the horses that had beaten him at Longchamp to win the Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly.
Later in June, Nuclear Debate lined up, as 16/1 joint-seventh choice of the 23 runners, for the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Racing in the centre of the course, he was held up at the rear by Gerald Mosse before making progress just after halfway, taking the lead inside the final furlong and running on well to win by 1½ lengths. Subsequent July Cup winner Agnes World finished second, with Bertolini further three-quarters of a length behind in third place.
After a short break, sprint king Nuclear Debate returned to British soil for his first attempt at Group One level, in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, in August. Sent off the clear favourite, at 5/2, he was once again held up, before making headway at halfway and cruising to a comfortable 1¼-length victory over his old rival Bertolini. Subsequent Haydock Sprint Cup winner Pipalong finished third, a further 1½ lengths away. At the end of his five-year-old campaign, Nuclear Debate was voted Cartier Sprinter of the Year for 2000.
See Nuclear Debate Win the 2000 Nunthorpe Stakes at York