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Saturday February 11, 2017, Meydan Racecourse: Group 1 winner, Thunder Snow ran away with UAE 2000 Guineas sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One over 1600m on dirt to give the Godolphin racing operation one of four winners on the night and a total of seven over the Dubai World Cup Carnival double-header weekend.
Class prevailed in the 2000 Guineas with Thunder Snow, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and victorious on his previous outing in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint Cloud at the end of October, making short change of the opposition.
Ridden for that big race win by Christophe Soumillon, he was partnered once again by the Belgian and the pair never looked in trouble.
“He impressed me when I won on him in France and that was very testing ground so I thought he would cope with the dirt here and he has,” said Soumillon.
“I was able to get a good position so we have avoided any kickback but, basically, that was easy.
“I was always happy and he did it very well. He should stay further if connections want to go for the UAE Derby but he will be a very nice horse back in Europe.”
Bin Suroor doubled up in the final race on the card, the 2435m The Meydan Hotel Handicap on the turf, thanks to the fast-finishing Prize Money, ridden by Adrie de Vries.
The main support race was the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes sponsored by Meydan One Mall, over 1600m on dirt.
On paper it looked particularly competitive but, in reality, it was pretty much a one horse race with North America possibly never headed before crossing the line seven lengths ahead of runner-up, Ennobled Friend.
Ridden by Richard Mullen and trained by Satish Seemar, the winner now has an unblemished local record, having won all four of his starts in the UAE and improved each time.
“That was obviously his best performance so far and he is just getting better,” said Mullen. “Basically, I was always happy and was able to give him a breather on the home turn.
“From there, he has really responded in great style and it gives the whole team a nice problem to consider as where to go next.”
The first race on the dirt was the The Track Meydan Golf, a 1200m handicap in which Godolphin’s Comicas landed the spoils for trainer Charlie Appleby and his stable jockey, William Buick.
Sent straight to the front, Comicas never looked in trouble over the shortest trip he has encountered in his career.
“We have to be very pleased with that,” said Buick. “I was pleasantly surprised with how much early speed he produced and that now gives the team a plethora of options as he is a good turf horse, who stays further, as well.”
Jockey and trainer completed a double courtesy of Bravo Zolo who landed a 1600m turf handicap, the Zabeel Feedmill and penultimate race on the card.
The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa 1200m turf handicap went to England and the Paul Midgley-trained Final Venture who was recording a second course and distance victory this year under Pat Dobbs.
Never far off the speed, Dobbs sent his mount to the front shortly after halfway and they never looked likely to be caught.
“He is just a very genuine and honest sprinter who has won this nicely and well done to the trainer and his team.”
The meeting opened with the Meydan Tennis Academy, a turf handicap over 1800m in which the Doug Watson-trained Ostaad, ridden by Dane O’Neill, landed the spoils to deny the same owner’s Jaaref, the mount of Jim Crowley and saddled by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi.
“This horse has been a bit disappointing this season and we probably hit the front plenty soon enough,” said O’Neill. “But fair play to the horse he has responded well when the second started to challenge.”