where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2019-03-30 19:09:51  
Thunder Rains Down Again

Thunder Snow 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 His Highness 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.

The son of Helmet has now won eight of his 23 career starts with a prize money total of US$16,011,850.


Saeed bin Suroor, Trainer, THUNDER SNOW (1st)—“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.”

Christophe Soumillon, Jockey, THUNDER SNOW (1st)—“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!”

Amer Abdulaziz, owner, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Gronkowski (2nd) —“He's run a great race, I can't believe he was so close. When you come that far and you get beaten by such a narrow margin, it is so frustrating, but this is also a victory for us. In the end, we were beaten by a better horse but our horse is a great horse. We knew that he was going well, we tried to keep it hush-hush but he's been working so well at home. Salem has done a tremendous job with him, the best of any trainer who has had him so far. When he came here, he had a lot of issues and we had to build him up from scratch. We had to clear his mind and he's done it. I can guarantee you this horse will be back here next year - and hopefully, he can go one better.”

Oisin Murphy, Jockey, GRONKOWSKI (2nd)—“I thought it was a very brave effort. We were nearly good enough, just not quite.

“Nobody wants to finish second, but what a brave effort. I was very privileged to ride the horse for Phoenix Thoroughbreds. Salem bin Ghadayer did a terrific job conditioning the horse for this race. This was his target since he left America, we hit the cross bar but he tried hard.

“I spent ten minutes warming him up and I gave him a dig out. I just thought the fancied horses would be ridden prominently and why give them a head start. It nearly worked out.

I knew I was beaten. He's a much bigger horse than Thunder Snow but Christophe's body was in front of mine.”

Emisael Jaramillo, Jockey, GUNNEVERA (3rd)—“My horse ran a very, very good race. My position in post number one was no good, but my horse is a beautiful, beautiful horse. It was a very good finish. He finished so good even with the position no good. He gave me everything. He tried so hard. He has so much heart. He gave me all. He was excellent.”

Joel Rosario, Jockey, PAVEL (4th)—“He showed me no speed early so I let him do what he wanted to. He was fighting at the death but the winner and second had gone on. It looked for a second like I was going to do something but it was a good effort.”

Flavien Prat, Jockey, AUDIBLE (5th)—“It's too bad I could not keep my spot on the back. He made a nice move. The only excuse is that I couldn't keep my spot but there is nothing you can do about it.”

Jose Ortiz, Jockey, YOSHIDA (6th)—“The horses inside of me came out a bit and Thunder Snow obviously has some speed so I got squeezed a bit in the start but no excuses. He got a good position after that, he made a good move after the 600m pole but turning for home he gave me what he had but the horses in front just kept going. I thought they would slow but they kept going. Congratulations to Sheikh Mohammed and Christophe.”

Richard Mullen, Jockey, NORTH AMERICA (7th)— “We were dictating nice fractions but at the furlong (200m) pole he emptied. We’re going to get him scoped. He just hasn’t put in his race. He travelled extremely well, I was extremely happy until we turned in. I have no explanation. It was a below par effort.”

Mike Smith, Jockey, SEEKING THE SOUL (8th)—“I’m kind of lost for words – he just seemed tired. He didn’t run his race.”

Royston Ffrench, Jockey, AXELROD (9th)—“Obviously he was taking on very good horses.He hasn't run a bad race because he's only been here a short while. He has obviously the ability. He is a class horse and I think we will see the best of him next year.”

Connor Beasley, Jockey, NEW TRAILS (10th)—“I didn’t want to let the leaders get away in the early stages, because he just gallops and gallops, but when they turned the screw from the turn, he got outpaced. Take nothing away from him, he won at the first Meydan meeting and he’s taken me on to the biggest stage in international racing, so I’ve got to be delighted.”

Olivier Doleuze, Jockey, DOLKONG (11th)—“He never stretched. It was a hard race as he was a bit lazy. The pace was very fast, there was a lot of kickback. He’s normally able to come when I ask but he wasn’t able to today. Something went wrong, he wasn’t the real Dolkong. We should have finished closer. I know him as I’ve ridden him three times already and he never stretched like he should today.”

Mickael Barzalona, Jockey, CAPEZZANO (12th)—“We got pushed into the rail after 100m and we were in trouble after that.” 

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