Golden night for Godolphin at Dubai World Cup as Thunder Snow caps night of triumphs

Alex Broun 10:20 01/04/2018
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Thunder Snow, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, the winner of the 2018 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. (Credit: Dubai Racing Club)

After the Thunder comes the Snow.

Forget the heavily favored American West Coast, Satish Seemar’s perfectly placed North America and even Dallas Stewart’s fabulous filly Forever Unbridled.

There is only one man who truly knows what it takes to win the main event on the world’s richest race day – and that is Godolphin’s understated genius Saeed bin Suroor.

The master trainer said little leading up to race day.

When quizzed about his charge all he would say was that Thunder Snow was training well, as was stable-mate Benbatl, who was another impressive winner for Bin Suroor and Godolphin on the night, claiming the Dubai Turf in 1m46.02s.

Bin Suroor prefers to let his horses speak for him on the track and Thunder Snow did exactly that.

Starting from the outside post – a position that many thought would cripple his chances – jockey Christophe Soumillon quickly got him to the inside to make the running and set a leisurely pace on the back straight.

This seemed to perfectly play in to the hands of Bob Baffert’s West Coast, who surely would blow the Snow away on the final corner.

But the challenge never eventuated, much to Soumillon and the packed gallery at Meydan’s surprise.

Thunder Snow found another gear, which West Coast simply did not possess, and charged away down the straight to win Godolphin’s ninth and Bin Suroor’s eighth Dubai World Cup.

No other trainer or owner comes close.

For Soumillon it was his first ever Dubai World Cup title and no one was happier after the finish than the likeable Belgian.

Asked his plans after claiming the crown all jockeys are after, the 36-year-old said: “I have no plans now. This needs a big party.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum and members of the Royal family with Thunder Snow at the 2018 Dubai World Cup trophy presentation. (Credit: Dubai Racing Club.)

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Maktoum and members of the Royal family with Thunder Snow at the 2018 Dubai World Cup trophy presentation. (Credit: Dubai Racing Club.)

Another man who was celebrating was the driving force behind Godolphin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

The founder watched on from his position on the rails near the winning post – the same position he had stood  all night, rubbing shoulders with ordinary race-goers, surrounded by his family who were enjoying their night at the races as much as their father.

He showed no outward change in emotion early on but he must have been disappointed as Godolphin’s favoured runners in the Dubai Gold Cup and UAE Derby failed to deliver.

No doubt he was pleased as Jungle Cat claimed a thrilling victory in the Al Quoz Sprint, moments after the shock scratching of Blue Point – and then was as thrilled as everyone around him by Benbatl, Hawkbill and Thunder Snow claiming the last three races of the night in such commanding performances.

Most of all he would have been thrilled that all the hard work of the Godolphin stable was paying off.

His humble joy was not displayed overtly – but the twirl said it all.

As his children and family gathered on stage, he left his son Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, to lift the Dubai World Cup.

Instead HRH stood on the side of the stage and then spontaneously, magically, he thrilled the adoring crowd with a joyous spin, holding three fingers up in celebration.

It said more than any words could ever do.

Four winners including the Dubai World Cup itself, on a glorious day of racing culminating in a beautiful warm night in Dubai, showcasing the best this extraordinary city has to offer.

Arrogate’s win was exceptional last year.

This moment will be even harder to top.

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