Thunder rolls in at Meydan to create history

Thunder Snow, ridden by Christophe Soumillon (left), edges out Gronkowski, Oisin Murphy astride, to win the $12 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates, at Meydan Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
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History was made at Meydan Racecourse yesterday when Thunder Snow became the first horse to win the $12 million Dubai World Cup (Group 1) twice – having stormed to an imposing victory twelve months ago.

The race was reminiscent of the very first running of the Dubai World Cup in 1996, when the legendary Cigar and Soul of the Matter engaged in a titanic battle on the home straight, with the former prevailing by less than a length, as thousands of racegoers screamed themselves hoarse.

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This time, the margin was an excruciating nose between Thunder Snow and the runner-up Gronkowski.

Despite being drawn on the dreaded outside, Thunder Snow broke smartly and was driven just off the early pace set by North America. Christophe Soumillon, arguably one of the best jockeys in Europe and a master of judging the pace, settled his horse into a smooth rhythm before the field entered the three-furlong home stretch.

Gronkowski, making his first start for Emirati handler Salem Bin Ghadayer, had the first run under Oisin Murphy as Soumillon got to work on Thunder Snow.

“This horse is very brave always tries very hard. In France, he won two group 1 and also won brilliant races in Europe and America. He also came and won the World Cup twice now and also won UAE derby so surely the form of horse is good.

– Saeed Bin Surour, Trainer”