No horse had ever won the Dubai World Cup more than once, until today, when Godolphin flagbearer Thunder Snow took the feature race at Meydan in thrilling style.
Breaking from stall 12, Thunder Snow was soon moved to a prominent position under Christophe Soumillon, settling behind the early leader North America. Quickening up once entering the straight, Thunder Snow had to battle all the way home but Saeed bin Suroor’s charge showed incredible tenacity to dig in and cross the line just ahead of Gronkowski (who is by Darley Australia sire Lonhro), making history in the process.
Thunder Snow has now won at G1 level in each of the four seasons he has raced, an impressive feat in itself. At two, he stormed to a five-length victory in the G1 Criterium International, before taking the Prix Jean Prat the following July, having won both the UAE 2,000 Guineas and UAE Derby earlier in the year. In 2018, he won the Dubai World Cup by almost six lengths, and rounded off his year with a creditable third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Thunder Snow is out of the exceptional broodmare EAstern Joy (Dubai Destination), who has produced five Stakes winners from five foals to race. They include Shamardal fillies Ihtimal and Winter Lightning, both Classic winners in the UAE and in the case of Ihtimal, also winner of the G2 May Hill Stakes and third in the English 1,000 Guineas. Eastern Joy is also dam of G3 Oh So Sharp Stakes winner First Victory (Teofilo) and Listed winner Always Smile (Cape Cross).
Thunder Snow’s victory capped an outstanding night for the Darley stallions and Godolphin, who recorded no fewer than four Group winners, including three at G1 level.
Cross Counter opened the stallions’ account, as the Melbourne Cup-winning son of Teofilo made a perfect seasonal debut with victory in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup.
Next came Blue Point (Shamardal), who simply cruised to his second win at the highest level and became the second successive Darley-sired winner of the G1 Al Quoz Sprint, following new Kildangan Stud recruit and son of Iffraaj, Jungle Cat, who obliged this time last year.
No big race day would be complete without Dubawi ensuring his name was on the winners’ sheet and he did not disappoint today, as Old Perisan ran out the decisive winner of the G1 Dubai Sheema Classsic. He becomes Dubawi’s second winner of the race, following Postponed’s victory in 2016.