Local hero Thunder Snow brought the Group 1 Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline home in style for Godolphin at the 2018 running of the world’s richest race. After the dramatic win from Bob-Baffert’s Arrogate a year earlier, Thunder Snow had a hard act to follow, but did so with aplomb, setting a new track record and dismantling some serious competition. Left in his wake were champion West Coast, Breeders’ Cup winners Talismanic and Forever Unbridled, as well as G1 winners Mubtaahij, North America, Pavel, Awardee and Furia Cruzada.
With a string of compelling runs, highlighted by victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat, Thunder Snow made amends for the inexplicable antics displayed in the 143rd Kentucky Derby, which had garnered plenty of media attention. In the end, it was the 5¾-length win margin in the Dubai World Cup, followed by an elated His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum celebrating on stage, that earned him a glittering new reputation. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee overcame his unenviable outside draw (of 10) via a perfectly timed rail run by star jockey Christophe Soumillon, to carve out his spot in history. “He jumped so well that I thought I would have to make it,” Soumillon said. “When I came into the straight, I could feel nobody was following me. It’s magic. I work hard every day to make sure someday something (great) like this will happen.”
The victory, in what was the 23rd edition of the Dubai World Cup, provided dual Prix De L’arc de Triomphe-winning rider Soumillon with an inaugural victory in the race, courtesy of one of the finest rides of the year. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor also stamped his authority on the Dubai World Cup by extending his lead at the top of the trainer’s list, winning trophy number eight.
“I am very happy with the horse and jockey,” an elated bin Suroor said. “I told Christophe the horse has a good turn of foot and I told him to use it. The jockey is the best of the best. When I saw he was confident in front, I thought surely the horse was going to win from then. We have the best owner in Sheikh Mohammed. He is the best leader and gives us the best horses.