Thunder Snow Repeats in Dubai World Cup

Thunder Snow

Thunder Snow wins the Dubai World Cup for the second year in a row (Photo credit DRC/ER)

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.

Winner: Thunder Snow (Ire)

Owner: Godolphin

Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

Official Time: 2:03.87 (2000m, Track Record: 2:01.38 – Thunder Snow, 2018)

Margin of Victory: Nose

Dubai World Cup Replay

Dubai Sheema Classic

Old Persian proved too powerful in the US$6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) to present owners Godolphin and potent trainer-jockey combination Charlie Appleby and William Buick with a remarkable treble on the Dubai World Cup card.

A 4-year-old homebred colt by the mighty stallion Dubawi, Old Persian had been considered a major contender beforehand and benefitted from saving ground on the rail behind the pacesetting Japanese-trained Rey De Oro.

As the eight runners swung into the homestretch, Buick was able to point his classy bay mount into clear running and quickly they established a winning break before the final 200m

The Japanese pair of Cheval Grand and Suave Richard came from off the pace to get within a length-and-a-half and half a length respectively of the winner at the line. The time clocked for the 2410m was the second fastest in the past decade at 2 minutes 27.17 seconds.

For Old Persian it was his eighth career victory in 13 starts and his first at the highest level. Last year he won at G2 level both at Royal Ascot and at York in the Great Voltiguer Stakes when he outpointed Cross Counter, winner of the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors for the same team earlier on the programme.

The career bankroll for Old Persian now stands at US$4.87 million.

Winner: Old Persian

Owner: Godolphin

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Jockey: William Buick

Official Time: 2:27.17 (2410m, Track Record: 2:26.85 – Hawkbill, 2018)

Margin of: 1 ½ lengths

Dubai Turf

She arrived in Dubai with a huge reputation and Japan’s super filly Almond Eye proved herself on a world stage at Meydan when showing brilliant acceleration to win the US$6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World.

The Lord Kanaloa filly, trained by Sakae Kunieda to win all three legs of the Filly Triple Crown and the Japan Cup at home, was produced with a well-timed run by Christophe Lemaire to land the 1800m Dubai Turf.

The race provided a great result for Japan with compatriot Vivlos a length and a quarter back in second and Deirdre finishing fourth. British trainer David O’Meara saddled Lord Glitters to produce a career-best run to take third.

Winner: Almond Eye

Owner: Silk Racing Co Ltd

Trainer: Sakae Kunieda

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

Official Time: 1:46.78 (1800m, Track Record: 1:45.52 – Just a Way, 2014)
Margin of Victory: 1 ¼ lengths

Dubai Golden Shaheen

X Y Jet was first out of the gate and first home with a powerful front-running performance to capture Saturday’s US$2.5 million, Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News at Meydan Racecourse.

Trained by Jorge Navarro for owners Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm, X Y Jet had finished second twice previously in this event, defeated a neck in 2016 when collared by Muarrab and by a head last year to Mind Your Biscuits.

Emisael Jaramillo hustled X Y Jet from the gate on Saturday night and immediately took command of the race with Matera Sky, piloted by Yutake Take, applying pressure through an opening 400m in 24.34 seconds.

The 7-year-old Kantharos gelding maintained his advantage into the turn as Matera Sky tried to keep pace with Imperial Hint saving ground in third. As the field straightened away, Matera Sky again took aim at the pacesetter, but X Y Jet found another gear and flew home a length and a half winner. X Y Jet completed 1200m in a final running time of 1:10.75.

A game and determined Matera Sky stayed on for second, a half-length in front of Imperial Hint. Promises Fulfilled rallied belatedly up the rail to finish fourth with Drafted, Fight Hero, Nine Below Zero, Switzerland, and Tato Key completing the order of finish. Roy H was a nonstarter.

X Y Jet, bred in Florida by Didier Plasencia, improved his record to 12-7-2 from 24 starts, while banking US $1.5 million to bring his bankroll to $3,095,513.

Winner: X Y Jet

Owner: Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm

Trainer: Jorge Navarro

Jockey: Emisal Jaramillo

Official Time: 1:10.75 (1200m, Track Record: 1:10.12 – Mind Your Biscuits, 2018)

Margin of Victory: 1 ½ Lengths

UAE Derby

Brendan Walsh, who once spent a decade working on the Godolphin team in Dubai before heading to the USA with hopes of becoming a trainer, saw his long-held dream come true when his his first runner in the Dubai, Plus Que Parfait, won the $2.5 UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saaed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2).

Plus One Parfait stamped his ticket to the Run for the Roses by winning the UAE Derby (G2). (Photo credit: DRC MK).

Under a perfect ride by Jose Ortiz, who won his second race on the Dubai World Cup card in as many tries, Plus Que Parfait earned 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby in May. The son of Point of Entry found racing room in the field of 14 at the top of the straight and after the rider switched him to the inside, he accelerated between Gray Magician and Manguzi and dug in to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

Plus Que Parfait, which means more than perfect in French, covered the 1900m on a fast track in 1:58.41. He boosted his lifetime earnings to US $1,949,800 with his share of the purse and the Imperial Racing LLC’s colorbearer now has a record of 7 2-1-2.

The remaining order of finish is Derma Louvre, Swift Rose, Stubbins, Walking Thunder, Superior, Van Beethoven, Razeena, Jahbath, Al Hayette, Divine Image, and Golden Jaguar.

Winner: Plus Que Parfait

Owner: Imperial Racing LLC.

Trainer: Brendan Walsh

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Official Time: 1:58.41 (1900m, Track Record: 1:55.18 – Mendelssohn, 2018)

Margin of Victory: ¾ lengths

Al Quoz Sprint

Blue Point stamped his claim to being the best sprinter on the planet when he stormed to victory in the 1200m Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1).

Blue Point stopped the clock in 1.08.39, only narrowly sitting outside the mark set by last year’s Al Quoz Sprint winner Jungle Cat when taking the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint last March. In doing so, he provided a second success on the card for trainer Charlie Appleby, jockey William Buick and owners Godolphin, coming hot on the heels of Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter’s triumphant return in the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2).

This was Blue Point’s second Group 1 victory, adding to his win in the 1000m King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last June, and it hardly looked in doubt as he cantered up towards the leaders at the 300m. Once Buick shook the reins, it took only a handful of strides before he had the pacesetters in his sights.

As has been the case so often in recent years, the American sprinters were so close without finding the winner’s stall. The Peter Miller-trained duo Belvoir Bay and Stormy Liberal looked likely at the 300m to give the United States their first victory in the Al Quoz Sprint before being overhauled by the classy winner.

Blue Point scored by a length and a quarter over Belvoir Bay, with a further three-quarters of a length back to Stormy Liberal in third. The Australian mare Viddora finished six lengths behind the winner in fourth.

The Al Quoz Sprint win takes Blue Point’s record to nine wins from 18 starts, with the son of Shamardal’s total earnings now topping US$2.5 million.

Winner: Blue Point (Ire)

Owner: Godolphin

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

Jockey: William Buick

Official Time: 1:08.39 (1200m, Track Record: 1:08.24 – Jungle Cat, 2018)

Margin of Victory: 1 ¼ lengths

Dubai Gold Cup

Cross Counter successfully bridged the gap between Australia and the UAE with a brilliant victory for jockey William Buick over Isopolini – like the winner a 4-year-old owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby – in the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2), run over 3200m and with a purse of $1.5m.

Winner of the Melbourne Cup last November, Cross Counter defied the lengthy lay-off, showing great courage as the two stablemates drew clear of their eight rivals from 500m out. Ispolini surrendered the lead 250m from the finish, where Cross Counter forged ahead to gain victory by one and a quarter lengths in a time of 3min 19secs, the third-best in 11-year history of the race.

Cross Counter, who gave both his trainer and jockey their first successes in the race, was taking his career record to six wins and two second placings from nine races.

French-trained Call The Wind stayed on over the last 500m to be third, three lengths off the first two and four lengths ahead of Gold Mount, Hong Kong’s first runner in the race.

Winner: Cross Counter (GB)
Owner: Godolphin
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: William Buick
Official Time: 3.19.00 (3200m, Track Record: 3:17.92 – Vazirabad, 2018)
Margin of Victory: 1 1/4

Godolphin Mile

Over 1600m on the Meydan dirt surface, the $1.5 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One produced a thrilling finish with Heavy Metal looking set to defend his title only to be caught in the dying strides by Coal Front.

Trained by Todd Pletcher for Robert La Penta & Heads Of Plains Partners, the 5-year-old ridgling was drawn wide in 12 and not able to get to the front under Jose Ortiz, who had hoped to do so, but forced to track Heavy Metal, Muntazah and Good Curry.

The last named was the first to crack with Muntazah looming large alongside Heavy Metal at the top of the straight before weakening with 300m to run.

That left Heavy Metal clear with a seemingly insurmountable advantage but Ortiz had a willing partner who finished off his race in style to put his head in front where it mattered.

The winning verdict was three-parts of a length with Ortiz making his first UAE mount a winning one as well as supplying Pletcher his maiden local success with his 17th runner.

Winner: Coal Front

Owner: Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners LLC.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Official Time: 01:36:51 (1600m, Track Record: 1:34.99 – Muntazah, 2019)

Margin of Victory: three-quarters

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