Dubai (AFP) – Thunder Snow stormed to a shock victory in Saturday’s Dubai World Cup to give Godolphin their seventh win in the race, after holding off favourite West Coast.
Under Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon, four-year-old colt Thunder Snow led from the front ahead of West Coast and cruised to victory by five-and-three-quarter lengths to win at odds of 8-1 in a track-record time of 2min 01.38sec.
It gave trainer Saeed bin Suroor an incredible eighth Dubai World Cup win and first since Prince Bishop in 2015, as Godolphin took four of the Group-One races on the richest day in international racing.
“When I came in the straight I could feel nobody was following me,” the 36-year-old Soumillon said.
“I knew I had to concentrate because when he sees the big screen, he can do something sometimes. It’s magic. I work hard every day to make sure someday something crazy like this will happen.”
Bin Suroor was delighted to have claimed an eighth Dubai World Cup for the race’s founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“We have the best owner in Sheikh Mohammed. He is the best leader and gives us the best horses,” he said.
“It was always on my mind to run him in the Dubai World Cup and he will have a break now, before running in Europe or America.”
It was a third near-miss in big races for the Bob Baffert-trained West Coast, after finishing second in the Pegasus World Cup and third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
But Thunder Snow earned redemption after refusing to run at last year’s Kentucky Derby by winning the $10 million race.
Mubtaahij completed the places in third at 28-1, behind stablemate West Coast.
North America had been seen as the likeliest challenger to West Coast, but missed the break to effectively end his chances.
The mile-and-a-quarter contest quickly became a straight fight between the leading duo, and although West Coast looked well-placed on the outside of Thunder Snow coming into the home straight, the three-year-old colt was left trailing and only just hung on for second.
“I had a nice position outside the winner. He was balanced and in a good rhythm,” said West Coast’s jockey Javier Castellano.
“I had every chance in the world to win the race but the best horse clearly won. He fought very hard to the line to keep second place. Very happy with his run.”
The Dubai World Cup retains plenty of its prestige, despite being usurped as the world’s most lucrative race two years ago by the Pegasus World Cup.
But it remains the richest day in international racing, worth $30 million, and Godolphin completed a stunning clean sweep of the three closing races.
After 4-1 favourite Benbatl powered clear to win the $6 million Dubai Turf, William Buick guided Hawkbill to a front-running victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic, also worth $6 million.
Jungle Cat won the Group-One Al Quoz Sprint for Godolphin after favourite Blue Point was a late withdrawal, with Mind Your Biscuits claiming the other top-level race of the day in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.