THUNDER Snow (nearest camera) overcame a huge amount of difficulty to become the first horse in history to land consecutive wins in the US$12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1).
Christophe Soumillon was in the saddle as 12 months ago and the victory capped a superb evening for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the Godolphin team who scooped four of the eight thoroughbred races.
Thunder Snow was again drawn wide in the 2000m feature and soon adopted a prominent position, but he had to find extraordinary reserves in the run to the line to overhaul Gronkowski by a nose. The latter had chased the pace with North America, who weakened into the field, with American challenger Gunnevera coming through late to be beaten two and three-quarter lengths into third.
The 5-year-old defied the widest stall bar one to score and was providing trainer Saeed bin Suroor with a remarkable ninth win in the Dubai World Cup in a winning time of 2 minutes 3.87 seconds.
Soumillon commented: “Last year I won by five, six, even more lengths, and today Thunder had to fight hard. I really want to say a big thank you to Saeed bin Suroor, and also to HH Sheikh Mohammed, just before the race they said to me in the paddock you should have so much confidence and do everything right. Thanks to Thunder Snow, because without him I would not be able to do such things.
“It was very hard, I was more looking like a Cheltenham jump jockey in the end than an American style jockey but you need to get him going and sometimes you need to do something different. The thing is, I promised to Saeed that I will just have the trophy and he will have the money so I’ll have to come back next year!”
Bin Suroor said: “He is a such a brave horse. I wasn’t sure if he had won, but we had the best jockey in the world on board and he knows him so well. He has won the UAE Derby and now the Dubai World Cup twice on him from wide draws and they are a great team.
I think this is my 191st Group 1 winner but it ranks very highly, probably along with Dubai Millennium in 2000 when he won this race. As for Thunder Snow, I will have to speak with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, but I would like if he could run in America again. Maybe in New York, in Saratoga with the final plan being the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.”
The son of Helmet has now won eight of his 23 career starts with a prize money total of US$16,011,850.
Photo credit: Dubai Racing Club