GODOLPHIN racked up an eighth Gr2 UAE Derby title on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan in Dubai. The race saw a battle to the finish in which rising star Thunder Snow (IRE) got a short-head past the popular Japanese raider Ephicharis (JPN).
The two Japanese contenders Adirato and Ephicares shared the lead early but as they hit the stretch, Thunder Snow passed a tiring Adirato and started to eat away at the lead Epicharis had enjoyed.
Ephicharis showed his talent by finding new gear after gear as they approached closing stages, trying to hold off his rival.
With about 200m to go in the race, Thunder Snow seemed to lose his focus, but he was able to come back and out-duel Epicharis to win by a short head.
Winning jockey Christophe Soumillon said “He is a champion with a big big heart. He gave me everything. I knew he was going to be something special when he won in England last year.”
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor added: “This was a new trip for him at 1900m but I had confidence. Christophe knows the horse well so I knew he’d be able to sort out anything, even though he did look a bit green there 200m out, but the jockey sorted him.
“I talked to Sheikh Mohammed just now and we have nominated him for the Kentucky Derby but we are also considering the French, Irish, or even the English Derby,” he said.
“We are keeping our options open and we will make a decision when we talk again.”
Mike de Kock’s runner Fawree jumped caused no trouble at the start and jumped well, a credit to equine behaviour therapist Malan du Toit, though the lack of a preparation run counted and he failed to make the first four, beaten into midfield.
“Fawree was a run short of his peak. He was squeezed and had to check down the straight, came back and ran through. It was a good performance considering the factors,” De Kock said after the race.
Photo: Thunder Snow (left) gets up to win. (Photo: Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club).